For youth experiencing homelessness, the journey from chaos and crisis to stability often starts at one of Eva’s emergency shelter sites. At both Eva’s Place and Eva’s Satellite Hotel, youth receive immediate support day and night from our expert staff. We spoke with Helder, Senior Site Manager at Eva’s Place, to learn about the current conditions there.
“We’re seeing real needs: youth coming from child welfare, sometimes the criminal justice system, the hospital, the airport, or the street,” Helder said. “Regardless of what brings a young person to our doorstep, our staff work with them from a place of empathy and care.”
Our emergency-based shelter programs offer a safe and reliable environment for youth in need. We meet the youth’s urgent food and shelter needs while also helping them stabilize through a focus on their health and well-being. Once youth have stabilized, they can begin to think about their next steps like finding housing and employment.
“For some youth, it’s an opportunity to share what they’re going through and what’s brought them through our doors,” Helder said. For others, their needs may be more intense, like needing referrals to hospitals, therapy, safety planning, and everything in between. “The key is to have places like Eva’s that can bridge the gaps, offer hands-on support, and build partnerships in the community that support young people.”
COVID-19 has placed additional strain on our staff and the young people we support as they became disconnected from their friend groups and community. We are seeing increased mental health challenges and substance use among the youth, and staff are rising to the challenge. “We focus on working with youth where they’re at in the moment, supporting their emotional well-being,” Helder says.
“We have good days and hard days, but nevertheless, we show up every day, and we’re still here. At the end of the day, we’re a team, and this is what we’re here to do.”