When you walk, drive, or ride the bus in Baltimore do you see homeless youth? Can you tell whether the youth you stroll past is headed to a safe, stable home, or whether she doesn’t know where she’ll lay her head tonight or find her next meal?
In an effort to educate our community about youth homelessness, the YES Valedictorians and Peer Advocate, Nyasha Dixon, produced the short film below “Invisible Homelessness: Baltimore Youth Speak Out” with assistance from students from Tania Rosas-Moreno’s class at Loyola University, Ingrid Lofgren from Homeless Persons Representation Project, and Monisha Cherayil from the Public Justice Center.
Founded and run by formerly homeless youth and their allies in 2012, the Youth Empowered Society (YES) works to end youth homelessness in Baltimore by providing urgently-needed direct services to youth experiencing homelessness, developing the leadership and employment readiness of youth who have experienced homelessness, and engaging in system-level reform.
YES carries out this work by operating Baltimore (and Maryland)’s only homeless youth drop-in center, where youth who are homeless and on their own can walk in and know they will find a safe place to meet their basic needs for food, clothing, hygiene products, laundry, storage, computer and phone usage; and receive mail, clean up, rest, and participate in fun and skill-building activities. The YES Drop-In Center serves the more than 640 youth who are homeless at any given point in time in Baltimore City.
YES offers something that few others can—the friendship and supportive relationships that youth clients establish with peer and allied staff, and health and legal practitioners who help them connect to vital resources. Through these relationships, we are, one-by-one, empowering young people to help us end youth homelessness in Baltimore.