Our Services Centre
The Directions Youth Services Drop-In Centre is located at 1138 Burrard Street. It is a safe space for homeless or street-involved youth under 25, open 24/7, located in downtown Vancouver. At Directions, our clients can get some food, take a shower, do their laundry, see a doctor/nurse, take care of their pets and get help with things like housing or employment.
Food security is a huge issue for many of our clients so we run a food program at our Centre that provides hot meals once a day. We also try to provide our clients with donations and food that they can take with them. Our food program is run entirely on donations that we receive from our community as well as various charities such as the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
SYJA stands for “Street Youth Job Action”. It is a pre-employment program run by Directions Youth Services. To participate in the program, youth must be an existing client of Directions, aged 16 to 24, and be legally eligible to work in Canada. To enroll in the program, clients must connect with Directions during the day on weekdays, and ask the staff to speak with the Program Coordinator, or they can call and leave a message at 604-633-1472 ext 3519.
Clients must be at Directions well rested, sober, and ready to work between 8:30 and 9:30am. Shifts are available Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Fridays – SYJA does not operate on Wednesdays or statutory holidays. Jobs are handed out at 9:30am. Clients are sent out to do street beautification (street garbage removal, graffiti paint-over, posted bill removal), needle sweeps, condom pick-up & safe disposal, or perform cleaning and tidying at the Centre and surrounding area. We train our clients on all of the proper techniques for the jobs they are given and participants are provided with all the necessary safety equipment and weather resistant clothing and outerwear they will need for the day’s work. The shifts are generally 5 hours long and clients will receive a cheque for the same day that they work.
The Media Program program was created in 2005 by Colin Ford. Colin began as a volunteer music instructor. Subsequently, with the support of the Director of Youth Services, we developed a plan for a Media Resources program to facilitate access and inclusion in the arts. This provided a creative outlet for youth and developed into a program that includes music instruction, audio production, video production, theatre and technology skills.
The Media Program also boasts a website, Another Slice, that chronicles the program’s development. Another Slice is an outlet for street entrenched youth to share their art, thoughts, and feelings with their peers as well as others. Another Slice is conceived, facilitated and developed out of Directions Youth Services. The purpose of this “zine” is to provide street youth with a venue for self-expression and freedom of thought. Another Slice is dedicated to all young people coping with survival on the streets and trying to make changes in their lives.
The Art Program runs on Wednesday and Friday evenings. Our art program encourages our clients to express themselves through drawing, painting, and more. Clients have a safe space to explore their feelings through art and be supported by our staff. The program has a number of different activities that are highlighted throughout the month but clients are not pressured to participate in the theme of the night and can pursue their own artistic interests.
Our Art Program relies on donations to supply our clients with the materials for the different mediums.
Connecting Youth to Their Needs
We have a number of youth workers, peer staff, and housing and transitions workers that can help connect clients with a number of different supports. Our staff helps clients connect with MCFD, Income Assistance, mental health supports, addiction supports and more. We also offer guidance and support for clients looking to find housing or employment. Our clients can also access showers and laundry at our Centre.
The Directions Youth Outreach Team operates as a mobile extension of Directions Youth Services Centre in downtown Vancouver. The team works with high-risk youth under 25 who are homeless or living in at risk situations with multiple barriers to accessing health, housing and a source of income. Clients are typically located in the West End, Downtown South and Eastside neighborhoods and experience health related issues related to risks associated with poverty, homelessness, social marginalization, violence, mental health, substance use, and intergenerational trauma.
Outreach workers build relationships with youth on the streets, striving to connect them with services that help move them closer to achieving the goals they have set for themselves, encouraging them toward pro-social behaviours, and ultimately toward exiting street life if they so choose. Directions outreach workers link youth to a spectrum of services across the city, maintaining relationships and communication with service providers, and working in tandem with them on case management and safety planning.
Support Directions Youth Services Centre
Directions Youth Services Centre runs many of its programs on donations from the community. Your contributions help provide street-entrenched youth with food, clothing, hygiene products, socks, shoes, life essentials such as new identification, and much more. A small gesture of support makes a huge difference for someone else.