In July of 2010 Allison came to Street Outreach seeking a place to eat and take a shower. Little did we know at that time that we were fostering the beginning of a beautiful, long-term relationship in which the staff at SOP would have the absolute honor of witnessing this young lady’s transformation into the remarkable, strong woman she is today.
Allison came from a family plagued with chronic drug and alcohol abuse. Despite the emotional abuse and neglect at home, she had made it to her sophomore year of high school and was fully determined to graduate. Not long after Allison’s introduction to SOP, she met a young man who was much more seasoned to life on the streets. They started a relationship, and Allison became accustomed to the culture of youth homelessness. Allison sought refuge from her abusive home life in the protection and care she felt from her boyfriend and other homeless youth. Life on the streets became a safer alternative for her than her situation at home. She eventually dropped out of high school and took to the streets full time. She and her boyfriend set up camp on the outskirts of Santa Fe and lived there for many months. Over the course of the following two years, Allison regularly took care of all of her basic needs through resources provided at SOP. Through these daily interactions Allison formed caring, trusting relationships with our staff. Beyond providing essential food and hygiene resources, staff provided support around staying safe on the streets and in her relationships.
In February of 2012 Allison became pregnant. With no one else to go to, she turned to the staff at SOP to lend an ear, offer support, and provide information on all of her pregnancy options. Together, Allison and her partner decided to embark on the journey through pregnancy and parenting. She began working with our Pregnant and Parenting Service Coordinator, and her partner began attending Young Fathers of Santa Fe meetings at SOP. Through these supportive services, Allison got registered for health insurance, received prenatal wellness care, and moved into stable housing. Additionally, they received relationship support and parenting education.
On December 18th, 2012, Allison gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. Allison brought her daughter back to her very own home the next day. The proud new parents were stocked with all the essential baby gear, and a fridge full of nourishment for the journey to come. As any parent is well aware, the first few months with a new baby is a whirlwind of emotions, sleep deprivation, and stress. It is an experience that cannot be explained prior to going through it. Allison remained actively involved in the Pregnant and Parenting Youth Initiative, receiving support and education throughout each new challenge and each new milestone.
In December of 2013, one year after the birth of their daughter, Allison’s partner left the family and moved out of state. As a single parent, Allison’s strength and perseverance were once again tested; and once again, she demonstrated tremendous resiliency. Allison is working toward her goals of returning to school and seeking part-time employment. She continues to reside in the home she obtained through her work with SOP. Furthermore, Allison has proved to be an amazing mother. She is working with the Pregnant and Parenting Service Coordinator to explore day care options for her daughter, and receives continuous education around parenting and early childhood development. Street outreach celebrates the holiday season by giving small gifts to each of the youth that we work with. When asked what was on her wish list, Allison selflessly replied with a list of gifts for her daughter. Street Outreach was happy to supply her with new clothes and a new play pen. Despite the history of substance abuse in Allison’s family, and the prevalence of dependency in street culture, she has taken the initiative to keep all illicit substances away from herself and her daughter. When asked how she feels, Allison reports feeling empowered, confident, and optimistic about her future.
Youth Shelters and Family Services delivers life-changing services to homeless, runaway, and in-crisis youth in northern New Mexico by providing shelter and addressing health, safety, education, and workforce opportunities so they may lead independent and meaningful lives.
Did you know...?
100 children sleep outside every night in Santa Fe
“Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer” –Author Unknown
Every child deserves a safe, warm place to sleep, every single night.
Programs serving homeless youth including two residential programs and a Street Outreach Program are looking for dedicated, caring staff to work as called afternoons, evenings, and weekends. Residential programs needing some overnight coverage. Looking for reliable individuals with lots of flexibility. Bachelor’s degree in a human service field and one year experience with at-risk youth, preferred to serve the target population; or Associate’s degree and two years relevant experience; or High School Diploma/GED and three years relevant experience. $11.25/hr, no benefits. Perfect job for students!
Youth Shelters and Family Services (YSFS) was established in 1980 by local residents concerned that children and young people in crisis and needing shelter had no alternative but to be taken to a juvenile detention facility. They were often escaping abusive or volatile home situations and were being punished when they needed support and a safe haven. People came together and opened La Otra Puerta-the other door-Emergency Youth Shelter next to the juvenile detention center. This safe and nurturing alternative served children ages 10—16 for up to 30 days. YSFS worked to reunite kids with their families whenever possible, or helped them find other safe, stable, caring environments. Over the years the Youth Emergency Shelter occupied a number of places, finally moving into a newly constructed building at 5686A Agua Fria Street in 2003.
In 1990, the Casa Libertad Transitional Living Program was established, offering a residential setting for youth ages 16-21 who were unable to live at home. The program teaches life skills for independent living, such as finding a job and managing money. The Transitional Living Program serves kids for whom nothing else has worked–kids who’ve been homeless for long periods of time, who’ve been in foster care or who’ve been in the criminal justice system and some who are pregnant or parenting teens. We celebrated the expansion of a new campus, housing 14 youth, at 4435 Airport Road in April 2010.
A community needs assessment in 1995 found there were hundreds of homeless young people living in Santa Fe, often without adequate food or clothing, and frequently subject to illness and abuse. Youth Shelters began outreach to street kids by distributing sandwiches, clothing, tents, sleeping bags, hygiene items, and resource information. The Street Outreach Program, as it came to be called, grew rapidly, with YSFS staff and volunteers going out into the streets on foot and cruising around Santa Fe in a renovated RV. Then in 2000, the program opened its Resource Center on Guadalupe Street, providing a place for homeless and street youth to get a meal, take a shower, do laundry, or call home. Due to changes in funding the Guadalupe Resource Center was closed in the fall of 2006. The City of Santa Fe temporarily provided space inside the Fort Marcy Park complex for the Street Outreach Program. In 2008, the Outreach Center found its current home at 402 St. Francis Drive, near Agua Fria. Staff are available for individual goal planning and case management, such as referrals for healthcare. Since establishing this location, the program has seen the number of youth served double and contact numbers tripled!
In 1996, YSFS and another Santa Fe-based agency, the Family Institute, began exploring a possible merger; the merger would provide a seamless continuum of services to young people and families in need. After months of study and discussions, the two groups joined forces, adding counseling, treatment foster care, and juvenile community corrections into the YSFS fold. Today, counseling services are still a significant component of YSFS programs. Located at 5686 Agua Fria (next to the Shelter), the Counseling Center has been offering free professional community-based counseling to youth and their families ever since.
Today, there are also focused initiatives. The Pregnant and Parenting Youth Initiative was launched in 2006 to address a growing incidence of homeless pregnant and parenting teens. The Life Skills Initiative, begun in 2011, provides G.E.D. preparation and job skills training to homeless youth so they can obtain skills for lifetime success. Youth Shelters is now a designated distance learning site through Santa Fe Community College. In 2011, the newest program, Civic Justice Corps, was launched to provide new beginnings for youth recently involved in the juvenile justice system. This includes education and job opportunities as well as community service.
SInce our ifounding, Youth Shelters and Family Services has now served more than 29,500 youth and families and grown into a multifaceted agency with a budget of $2 million!
Please use the panel on the left to find the phone numbers, addresses and locations of our main sites. If you wish to contact us by email, please complete the form and a member of staff will get back to you as quickly as possible.
Youth Shelters and Family Services serves more than 1,000 homeless, runaway, and in-crisis youth and family members each year. Most are local—75% from Santa Fe and Santa Fe County alone—and another 10% from other communities in Northern New Mexico. Youth from elsewhere in the state and around the country also access services.
This year, more than 1.7 million children in America will be homeless.
It is a serious problem in this country as well as right here in Santa Fe.
Click on the video (left) to see some of the solutions being provided by Youth Shelters.
Before 1980, children and youth who were homeless or who had run away from an abusive situation, were locked in the detention center. That is, until a group of concerned citizens decided – no more. They started the first and still the only emergency youth shelter in the nine-county area of northern New Mexico. Today, with a new facility constructed in 2003, the shelter program annually serves approximately 145 children and youth ages 10-17.
The Youth Emergency Shelter (YES) program accepts children and youth who are:
Homeless and/or runaway
NM Children Youth and Families Department clients who are at risk of abuse or neglect
Referred by Children’s Court
In transition between residential programs
Otherwise at risk
The state licensed program provides 12 beds with one additional emergency bed, in case a young person needs shelter in the middle of the night. On an average night, there are 6-10 youth staying at the shelter. The shelter program’s license permits youth to stay up to 120 days, but the average stay is 30 days or less. As soon as young people arrive at the shelter, staff work hard to help young people find a more permanent living arrangement.
The shelter provides more than meals and a bed. As in all YS programs, life skill building is integral to the program’s effectiveness. Art projects, money management, cooking classes and trips to local resources such as the library, Genoveva Chavez Community Center and museums are some examples of life skills development at the shelter.
The shelter is not a lock-down facility. Youth must sign a written agreement that they want to stay in the shelter. Written Guardian or Parental Consent is also required within 72 hours of admission.
Eligible youth must be between 10-17 years of age, willing to stay, sober upon arrival and have no history of sexual assault.
At YSFS we work with youth from a strength-based and youth development perspective rather than from a perspective that the young people who stay with us are ‘bad kids’ who have problems. For self-destructive or inappropriate behaviors, we use a harm reduction approach rather than a zero tolerance one.
In 1990, after 10 years of successfully operating a youth emergency shelter, YSFS launched the Transitional Living Program (TLP). The Program serves homeless youth and pregnant/parenting adolescents ages 17-21 for up to 18 months in a supervised apartment setting. TLP assists youth with life skills training, counseling, educational support and workforce development. In this setting youth are able to gain the skills to live independently and become active members of their community.
One of the program’s primary objectives is to help young people to identify their strengths as well as those areas they want to develop. As in all YSFS programs, TLP uses a strengths-based approach, assisting residents in finding solutions and accomplishing goals that will take them to a new level of independence. Success in the program is measured by how well each individual succeeds in meeting the goals they set.
TLP can house up to 14 young people at any given time, some of them with infants or young children. TLP residents have busy schedules with school and work. They are asked to pay a sliding scale amount of rent, 50% of which is returned to them when they leave the program.
Supportive Housing (SHP) at YSFS is our newest residential program. The program serves homeless youth ages 18-24 in an apartment complex separate from the main TLP campus. This program assists youth to build life skills and increase their earned income as a means to living independently. As with TLP, the objective is to help youth build on their strengths, identify areas that need development, and empower through a strengths-based approach. Success is measured by meeting goals set by the individual.
The program focuses on teaching youth to live independently supported with life skills that will foster independence. The goals are for youth to maintain a safe and positive living environment, increase their level of education, develop the skills to maintain a stable source of income, and a sense of confidence in order to overcome obstacles that may jeopardize success.
SHP can house up to 6 young people at any given time. The participants pay rent which is 30% of their income as well as utilities. Deposits for both the apartment and utilities are refundable, and arrangements can be made in manageable installments, determined with a Service Coordinator.
To be admitted into Youth Shelters’ Supportive Housing Apartment Program youth must meet the following criteria:
Between the ages of 18 and 23;
Homeless, or at risk of losing safe and stable housing, both of which will need documentation;
Motivated, determined, and committed to increasing their educational and employment skills;
Able to follow program rules (i.e. curfew and no overnight guests) and participate in a program (community service, participate in groups and therapy, meet with Service Coordinator regularly);
In 1995, YSFS began doing outreach to youth who were living on the street. Staff and volunteers took backpacks filled with bottled water, sandwiches, condoms and resource guides to places in Santa Fe where street youth tended to congregate. In one decade, the program has seen the number of contacts with homeless youth skyrocket from a couple hundred a year to more than 5,000 contacts last year with an estimated 500 homeless youth. Approximately half of the young people served are from Santa Fe or northern New Mexico, the other half come from other parts of the country.
Street Outreach provides anonymous, free services to homeless and at-risk youth up to age 22. Young people are able to access services through two complementary methods. The first is street outreach as described above. This enables staff to inform newcomers about services and to maintain positive relations with people who may be too old to receive services. Older homeless people often refer street youth to the program.
The Resource Center is the second method by which the program delivers services. Located in downtown Santa Fe at 402 St. Francis Dr., the Resource Center is open six days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Here, young people can take showers, do laundry, get food, clothing, hygiene, camping and other supplies. They are also able to make phone calls and use the internet at no cost to them. Youth can receive help with a number of needs, including taking their G.E.D. tests, obtaining various forms of ID, filling out job applications or securing housing. Anonymous and free medical support services are available at the Resource Center twice a week. If safe and appropriate, Street Outreach has been known to buy bus tickets for youth to return home.
Street outreach is staffed by a wonderful team of people who are all aware of the vital nature of the service in providing young people with a unique environment in which to feel safe and connected in.
The Pregnant and Parenting Program is an YSFS Initiative for teen parents and young families up to 21 years of age. We offer health interventions, case management and educational classes to young families and non-parenting youth which enable them to face a multitude of obstacles.
We focus on breaking cycles which have negative effects on young parents, their children and non-parenting youth. Pregnant and Parenting Program Health Interventions and classes address breaking negative cycles, embryo through adult brain development, parental skill development, creating healthy new behaviors and safe sex education. YSFS guides clients enabling them to gain access to wraparound services including: teen pregnancy prevention, STD prevention, AIDS prevention among youth ages 13-24, prevention of domestic violence, incarceration, poverty, environmental impact, drug addiction, lack of education, and lack of healthcare.
Case management, health interventions and classes are offered to all YSFS clients, through the Adult Correctional Facility, New Mexico State Penitentiary and local high school programs.
Life Skills are the functional skills needed to succeed at home, school, work and in the community. They include knowledge about health, safety, nutrition, accessing education, employment training and creating positive relationships. Life Skills training also helps youth make wise choices about substance abuse. The Life Skills Manager provides broad-based content knowledge and hands-on training across all of our programs. This initiative focuses on helping youth reach goals of safety and stability in every area of their lives. Our goal is to create pathways to lifetime independence.
The YSFS Clinical Services Center provides a variety of services free of charge to families with youth under the age of 21. The Center, located at 5686B Agua Fria, is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm and Fridays from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. All services are confidential.
Clinical Services at YSFS are geared toward individuals, families, couples and groups, and include home-based services to at-risk children, youth, and families. Referrals come from schools, social service agencies, community-based programs, the phone book and other sources. Case management and client advocacy are also provided to ensure full knowledge of, and access to, community resources such as housing, legal, financial and educational programs.
Clinical Services include:
Counseling services provided by licensed therapists and counseling and social work interns are available to meet a wide variety of family needs including issues related to school, home, community and divorce as well as a wide range of behavioral health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity. We focus on families’ strengths and provide assistance to improve anger management, communication and parenting skills in an encouraging, caring environment. The goal of outpatient counseling is to assist families to identify more effective solutions to the challenges they face.
YSFS was awarded a $560,000 grant from the Department of Labor to implement the new Civic Justice Corps (CJC) program, a workforce education initiative for adjudicated youth. YSFS is honored to be one of 15 grantees awarded nationwide.
CJC is a full-time six-month program providing participants with G.E.D. classes, links to higher education, workforce training, service projects and opportunities to reconnect with community resources. CJC maintains a staff to participant ratio of 1:4 as well as offeing in-house professional counseling and comprehensive case management. The CJC staff is committed to meeting the unique needs of each participant, which includes collaboration with their various support systems including family, community and other agencies.
Our growing list of community partnerships includes Kitchen Angels, City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Animal Shelter, Art Institute, Earth Care, Railyard Stewards and more. If you are interested in partnering with CJC as a work site collaborator or a volunteer tutor or mentor, please click here.
Click here to refer a young adult for the CJC program or download the application here.
For more information about Civic Justice Corps, call 505-983-0586 ext. 116
In order for a youth to be admitted into Youth Shelters’ CJC program he/she must meet the following criteria:
Between the ages of 18 and 22;
Committed to increasing their educational and employment skills;
Currently or recently involved in the juvenile justice system within the last 12 months. Involvement in the juvenile justice system includes youth who within the past 12 months were:
Under the supervision of the juvenile justice system either in out-of-home placements or on probation or parole;
Given an alternative sentence by the juvenile justice system; or
Placed in a diversion program as an alternative to juvenile prosecution by the juvenile justice system.
* Youth with a history of predatory sex offenses and repeat violent crimes are not eligible.
Youth learn valuable life skills through hands-on activities such as improving job readiness, on-site employment training, internships, and community service. Youth Shelters is an officially designated distance learning site for G.E.D. preparation, testing, and graduation through Santa Fe Community College. Established in 2010. In Fiscal Year 2013 we served:
Provides educational advancement, restorative justice opportunities, and on-the-job training for 18-22 year-olds recently involved with the Juvenile Justice System. Established in 2011. In Fiscal Year 2013 we served:
♦ 33 youth served ♦ 821 hours of life skills training and development provided ♦ 546 case management hours provided ♦ 45 family support service hours provided ♦ 33 youth enrolled in school or G.E.D. classes ♦ 1,752 hours of G.E.D. or secondary education classes provided ♦ 650 community service hours provided by youth in the local area ♦ 1,617 worksite and job skills development hours provided ♦ 482 counseling hours provided
Our Volunteer Program is under reconstruction. We are very grateful for your interest in supporting YSFS and we will be happy to add you to our contact list for future volunteer opportunities. Please complete the form on our Contact Us page and we will be in touch with you. Thank you for your patience.
Youth Shelters is the only organization in the Santa Fe area dedicated to helping homeless, runaway, and at-risk young people. The work that we do makes an enormous difference in changing lives and maybe even saving lives. The agency’s programs have gained respect locally and nationally as some of the most effective (and cost-effective) work with youth anywhere.
It is difficult work, and it costs money. In these times of drastically diminishing federal and state resources, it is doubly important for our community to come to the aid of those who are least able to help themselves—our children and the children of our neighbors.
There’s nothing in this world more rewarding than making a difference in the life of a young person.
Your generosity will help us to continue providing a continuum of services to homeless, runaway and at-risk youth, including street outreach, emergency shelter, transitional housing, counseling, life skills development and Civic Justice Corps. The impact on the 1,000 young people we serve a year is great. For us it means hungry kids eat, homeless children have shelter and perhaps most important of all it means that kids can acquire the life skills they need to fulfill their tremendous potential. Success is ensured by people like you who lend their good hearts to shaping our community’s future.
Please view our Wish List if you would like to donate household items or clothing
Provides safety, stability, and wellness for young families, including pregnant and parenting teens, through housing and other assistance. Education is offered in areas such as nutrition, health, child development, domestic violence, and pregnancy prevention. Established in 2006. In Fiscal Year 2013 we served:
♦ 230 pregnant and parenting youth and 146 children received clothing, baby formula, referrals for pre-natal, post-natal, well-baby care, and other critical services ♦ 1,695 hours of case management, education classes, and counseling provided
Serves children, youth and families who are homeless, at-risk, or in crisis through referrals from schools, social service agencies, and community-based organizations. Counseling is provided at no-cost to every Youth Shelters client as well as people in the community, up to age 21, and their families. Established in 1996. In Fiscal Year 2013 we served:
♦ 180 clients served (unduplicated) ♦ 1,805 counseling hours provided
Provides street-based critical services such as food, water, and blankets to youth up to age 21 with nowhere to go. Many camp in the mountains, live in cars, or sleep in abandoned buildings. Street Outreach also has a home-like Drop-In Center where youth go to get warm, take a shower, and receive the supportive services they need to leave the streets. Established in 1995. In Fiscal Year 2013 we served:
♦ 446 youth served (unduplicated) ♦ 18,951 pounds of supplies distributed ♦ 2,269 health-related items distributed, including personal hygiene kits and First Aid kits ♦ 699 survival items provided, including sleeping bags, clothing, and baby supplies ♦ 1,460 case management hours provided
A supervised apartment setting for homeless youth, including pregnant and parenting teens, ages 17-21. Youth gain education, workforce skills, and life skills so they can move out on their own and become independent, fully contributing members of society. Located at 4435 Airport Rd. Established in 1990. In Fiscal Year 2013 we served:
♦ 21 youth served (unduplicated) ♦ 2,074 nights of housing provided ♦ 17 youth enrolled in school or G.E.D. classes ♦ 2 youth began college careers ♦ 6 youth secured employment ♦ 1,599 life skills development hours provided ♦ 15,546 case management hours provided
A 24-hour emergency shelter with a full range of services, including access to education, tutoring, and case management for youth ages 10-17 who are in crisis and need a safe place to stay. Established in 1980. In Fiscal Year 2013 we served:
♦ 145 youth served (unduplicated) ♦ 2,352 nights of shelter provided ♦ 553 counseling hours provided ♦ 3,670 life skills development and case management hours provided
Youth Shelters is the primary agency in the Santa Fe/northern New Mexico area serving homeless, runaway, and street youth and their families, as well as young people who are at risk of being homeless.
Youth Shelters provides unique, life-changing services to homeless, runaway, and in-crisis youth and their families. YS partners with families to find positive, non-institutional solutions and builds on existing strengths within a framework of dignity, mutual respect, and personal responsibility. The agency’s goals are to:
Prevent runaway behavior, out-of-home placement, and involvement by at-risk young people in the social services, juvenile justice, or correctional systems, and enable homeless young people who cannot live with their families to develop the necessary skills and resources to live independently.
Provide education, counseling, crisis intervention, and case management services to children, youth and their families who are in crisis or at risk.
Strengthen and preserve the family unit and enhance the ability of families to solve problems and to build on their strengths.
Youth and families served are able to move seamlessly from one program or service area to another within the agency. YS is able to offer an integrated continuum of services under one organizational roof, including shelter, counseling, case management, life skills development, and other services—an approach whose effectiveness has been demonstrated by research and evaluation. In addition, all YS programs use a strengths-based, youth development approach, incorporating evidence-based practices that build assets in young people, families, and communities.
Jennifer, 16, was thrown out by her parents because she was pregnant. It was cold and she had no shoes. She wanted a better life—without abuse, neglect, poverty—but had nowhere to go and was having a baby. She was alone, scared, hungry. What was she going to do? Youth Shelters outreach staff found Jennifer sleeping under a bridge. She was sick and close to giving birth. We met her emergency needs—including food, clothing, housing—and helped her obtain specialized medical care.
Today, Jennifer and her baby son are healthy. She completed her G.E.D., enrolled in college, and looks forward lo a fulfiiling future.
2014 Boots, Bolos and Boogie Ball +
Youth Shelters and Family Services will be holding its annual fund-raising Boots, Bolos and Boogie Ball on Thursday, July 31,…Read More