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Providing shelter and care for a homeless youth helps to stop the cycle of homelessness into adulthood

How you and your employees can support the Youth Services Bureau Foundation’s shelter room campaign


The Youth Services Bureau (YSB) is one of the largest and longest serving youth agencies in Ottawa. Every year, YSB works with thousands of youth and families to support their wellbeing. YSB runs two emergency youth shelters and four apartment buildings, offers a range of free mental health services, provides youth employment support, as well as programs for youth in conflict with the law.

Regardless of the service that our clients are accessing, we work to meet youth where they are at, physically, mentally, and logistically. These past few years have been disruptive and difficult for everyone, and the need for our services has never been greater. Our experience and lessons from the young people we serve have shown us the importance of hope and kindness. It has also highlighted how important it is for us to work collaboratively with our partners.

Partnerships, along with innovation, have been key to YSB’s longevity. YSB xeecutive director Joanne Lowe says, “As youth and times have changed, so has YSB. Central to our work has been ensuring we have youth voices advising us, which allows us to continually adapt to serving the needs of young people and their families.”

How can a business or workplace team sponsor a shelter room for a youth who is homeless?

You can sponsor a shelter room at $4K for one year, or choose to sponsor a room for multiple years. Connect with Oliver Saner at the YSB Foundation at for details.

YSB staff – a group of more than 325 full and part-time professionals working from 22 locations – live the ethos of supporting youth regardless of where they live, what they look like, or whom they love. With services ranging from housing for vulnerable or previously homeless youth, to a crisis line and mental health walk-in clinics, to employment support, YSB’s work is broad and deep, serving youth of all ethnicities, faiths, and genders.

Shelter room

The YSB Foundation raises awareness and funding in support of YSB’s work. Its latest community campaign invites supporters to sponsor rooms in each of YSB’s two downtown emergency and transitional shelters dedicated to housing and supporting youth who are homeless. The Room to Grow campaign, generously supported by lead sponsor the Taggart Parkes Foundation, aims to get all 64 rooms in both of YSB’s youth shelters sponsored at $4K per year or for multiple years.

“Supporting and empowering vulnerable youth is part of our commitment to community, and our partnership with the Youth Services Bureau aligns well with that,” says Julie Taggart, president, Taggart Realty Management. “Ensuring a homeless young person is able to access safe shelter and wraparound support is critical to that youth both right now and as they move forward to building a strong future in our community.”

How else can a business or workplace team sponsor a shelter room for a young person?

You can also form a team and participate in YSB’s bilingual, virtual event, Stay Up Ottawa, which launches mid-October. Raise a minimum of $4K to sponsor a YSB shelter room for a youth who is homeless. Follow YSB’s social media platforms for details on how to register your team.

Staffed 24 hours a day by caring and skilled staff, YSB’s shelters not only offer safe housing, nutritious meals, and a sense of community; staff also support residents with mental health counselling, employment service as well as future access to YSB’s four apartment buildings once a youth is ready to live independently, while still receiving staff support.

Milo* describes coming to live at one of YSB’s shelters. “Here, the staff welcomed me without judgement, and they helped me uncover my hopes and dreams that I had forgotten about.” Milo adds, “I found my community here, and I’m now in college and working part-time.”

“As supporters, we have the opportunity to help stop the cycle of homelessness into adulthood for young people,” says YSB Foundation board chair Isabelle Perreault, founder & CEO of Differly Inc. “This is such a compelling cause to rally around, and we’re looking forward to engaging our business community in this campaign.”

*While Milo’s story is real, his name has been changed to protect his privacy.