The COVID-19 has brought many unfair issues to people struggling in our community, including youth and families experiencing homelessness. It’s also brought more challenges for the non-profit organizations that serve them. For the staff at the YES Shelter, the pandemic was especially challenging.
The YES Shelter is an organization that works to reduce and prevent homelessness by offering emergency housing, education, and other support. During the pandemic, staff saw more youth dealing with severe mental health issues, self-harming, and struggling with substance use. Because youths were going through a tougher time, they needed more sophisticated support and this meant a bigger workload for staff, compared to pre-pandemic.
The increased workload and pressure were overwhelming to the YES Shelter’s staff. Many of them experienced more stress, trauma and grief, and this led to higher staff burnout, turnover and stress leave. It was hard to have a staffing and service shortage at a time when many people in our community needed support. The shelter needed help to fill in the gap.
Let’s face it. It’s not a secret that many charities operate on a shoestring budget with limited resources. Many charities have a difficult time getting grants and funding to fill temporary positions.
With additional support from the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, the YES Shelter hired someone to fill the staffing gaps and directly help youth in need. With the temporary employee, 313 youths experiencing homelessness in our community received emergency housing and support from the shelter.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many of us but some communities are experiencing a bigger impact than others. Our vulnerable populations are facing bigger challenges. We know that local charities are stretched thin, and our community needs your help more than ever. Whether you give $10 or $10,000, we know that we can make a bigger difference by giving together.