Our mission is to support young adults (18-24) in Berkeley who are currently homeless. We provide basic necessities, offer case management and counseling, linkages to education, employment and housing, and opportunities for meaningful community involvement.
assists homeless young people in these ways:
- Provides relief from the stress of living on the street
- Creates a community of friendship and mutual support
- Encourages the identification of personal goals and the exploration of alternatives to street life
Berkeley's homeless population is estimated to be 1,200, about 225 of whom are youth aged 18 to 25. Three quarters are male and 54% Caucasion. In interviews 85% said they are local, 73% self-reported active drug or alcohol use, 36% indicated they have mental health problems, half have not graduated from high school, and 79% have no source of income. Thirty-seven percent have lived in foster care, fifteen and a half is the average age at which they became homeless, and the average length of time they've been homeless is 2.5 years. Since homeless youth often keep pets for companionship, we make efforts to accommodate them.
The YEAH! shelter is open seven nights a week all year round. It is staffed each night by 2 trained supervisors and a team of volunteers. Youth in the program are served a hot dinner and breakfast in the morning. They sleep on mats with fresh sheets. Clean socks and underwear are provided when available. They have access to a shower nightly.
With our help, some of the youth have been reunited with family, or moved into permanent housing. In addition, we provide medical referrals and on-site therapy. We also work closely with Berkeley Mental Health, Lifelong Medical Clinic, the Homeless Action Center, Suitcase Clinic and other local agencies.
Through our Clinical Day Program, YEAH! provides intensive case management and counseling to a select group. Participants meet regularly with a trained clinician. Together they set goals and chart a path to their preferred lives. Youth are helped to find employment, to secure permanent, affordable housing, to return to (or stay in) school, and to learn to utilize community resources.