YEAH! YOUTH ENGAGEMENT ADVOCACY HOUSING
A PROGRAM OF COVENANT HOUSE CALIFORNIA
Our emergency shelter program in Berkeley, CA provides low-barrier access for youth experiencing homelessness. We provide basic necessities, offer case management and counseling, linkages to education, employment and housing, and opportunities for meaningful community involvement.
YEAH! 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
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.
Director of YEAH! Program
HOW TO VOLUNTEER AT YEAH!
Volunteering at the shelter contributes to everyone’s well being. Volunteers learn from youth, from their fellow volunteers and from the trainings provided by YEAH!. In turn, youth have a warm bed, hot meals and a way of making connections with people from the wider community.
In the shelter, we need volunteers to prepare and serve food and/or wash dishes, both morning (6:30-8:30 am) and evening (7:45-10:15 pm). Other volunteers are needed to interact with youth, hand out sleeping materials, assist with shower sign-ups and oversee the laundry: both morning (6:15-8:15 am) and evening (8:00-10:00 pm) shifts are available.
We frequently hold orientations for volunteers, which they are asked to complete before volunteering. All orientations and trainings take place from 5:30pm to 7:00pm (8:00pm for some volunteer positions) at 1744 University Avenue, located inside the Lutheran Church of the Cross. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about volunteer opportunities and to learn when the next orientations will be.
YEAH! BOARD MEMBERS
Susan Halpern, MSW (Founding Board Member)
Natalie Leimkuhler, MA, Secretary (Founding Board Member)
Elisa Della-Piana, JD, Board Chair
Mary Gilg, JD, Board Secretary
Maxim Schrogin, Board Treasurer
Robert Ayasse, LCSW, PPSC
Midhun Joseph, MA
ABOUT BERKELEY’S HOMELESS POPULATION
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% Caucasian. 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 at YEAH!.
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