Youth in Need
The 2017 Vancouver Homeless Count found that there were 3605 people who identified as homeless. This number is a 30% increase from the count conducted in 2014. It is estimated that approximately 16%-20% of the homeless population in Vancouver are under 25.
These numbers only reflect a portion of the street-entrenched and at-risk population in Vancouver. A number of the clients we cater to may be precariously housed or at risk of losing their housing. There is a huge need for services in Vancouver and only a portion of that need is covered by services already available.
What is Directions Youth Services?
Directions Youth Services is a division of Family Services of Greater Vancouver that provides support to at-risk, homeless, or street-involved youth under 25. Our resources are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We provide safe spaces for youth to connect with supports, detox from substances, and access transitional to short-term housing. Directions currently has 3 locations to serve our clients.
Directions Youth Services Centre offers a safe space for street youth under 25, open 24/7 and located in downtown Vancouver. At the Centre, youth can eat a hot meal, take a shower, do their laundry, see a doctor, get help finding housing, get paid work experience, learn more about pet care, talk to someone, or just take a break from street life.
Directions Safehouse provides secure and stable housing for those 16 to 18 years old. Staff work with clients to get on income assistance, find permanent housing, and get connected with any other support they need.
Directions Youth Detox is a social (non-medical) detox in a home-like environment that provides stays of 7 or more days to people 21 and under. The program is entirely voluntary, meaning that youth can choose to leave at any time, and operates on a harm-reduction model.
Support Local Services
There are many difficult aspects to street life and one of them is getting out of it. A lot of young people in need live their lives on the street. Some of them suffer from mental health or addiction challenges and this creates higher barriers to getting their needs met. It creates more obstacles that stand in the way of getting help. You can help remove some of those barriers by supporting services in your community.
Volunteer with Us!
My journey as a volunteer with Directions Youth Services started in 2012 when a good friend introduced me to the manager at one of the safe house locations. A proposal of my ideas for a garden space was accepted and away we go. Since then our garden project has been adding fresh backyard organically grown veggies and herbs to the menu for the youth. The garden is used not just to add to the menu but also to create an environment for grounding, learning, connecting with the earth, and adding beauty to the space. A garden represents life.
Volunteering with Directions Youth Services has been the perfect alignment for me. I am able to share my passion for gardening and at the same time have the opportunity to impact lives in a positive way. Giving back is one way to see volunteering, but for me it’s grown to be a mutual giving and receiving experience. This has been an opportunity that has helped me to explore and expand my human abilities. I’m truly grateful and happy to be a part of an organization that is dedicated to helping youth to find their way through some of the many challenges that face them today.
Work at Directions
Working at Directions is an experience every person who works in social services should have. In our community, working at Directions as acknowledged as quality front-line work where you have the opportunity to effectively build your skills and competency in the field. You get to connect with our amazing clients and work with them to help them meet their needs and reach their goals.