Wind Youth Services


The mission of Wind Youth Services is to provide supportive services and opportunities to youth experiencing homelessness as they pursue self-determined lives of stability and independence. Wind Youth Services provides homeless and at-risk youth between the ages of 12 and 24 with basic safety net and survival services, a safe place to stay, and access to on-going supportive services.

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Address:3671 5th Ave
Sacramento, CA 95817
County or Parish:Sacramento
Primary NTEE:Housing, Shelter 
Sub NTEE:Homeless Shelters 
Executive Director:Suzi Dotson
Contact Email:suzi@windyouth.org
Primary Phone:916-369-5447 x223
Website:http://www.windyouth.org/
Wind Youth Services is a local non-profit 501(c)(3) agency, established by the Sisters of Social Service in 1994 to address the immediate and long-range needs of the Sacramento area homeless, runaway, and street youth and their families. We follow a strengths-based youth development format nationally recognized as a 'best practice' approach to working with vulnerable youth that builds on the individual strengths and abilities of each young person. We address the needs of at-risk youth in a holistic manner, assisting them in meeting their physical, emotional, and mental needs that have often gone unmet for many years. At Wind, we believe that each young person is special, with unique strengths and talents. With support from our caring and professional staff, youth have the opportunity to achieve healthy functioning and move toward self-sufficiency. Through forming nurturing, trusting relationships and involving themselves in meaningful personal and community activities, the youth we serve improve their skills, self-esteem, and ability to pursue safe, healthier lives. We believe in assisting youth to acquire the tools and skills needed to create the personal change that they seek. We position ourselves as innovators in the homeless services community. Our programs are designed to embody and maintain our core values, ensure youth retention, and promote social justice. We take a "by any means necessary" approach to the work we do, and offer youth developmentally appropriate, youth-driven programs that meet young people where they are. We are passionate advocates for the young people with whom we work. We are the only unabashedly pro-youth agency in Sacramento that is striving to affect change daily within our agency and our community. Wind is the only service provider in Sacramento County focusing solely on runaway, homeless and street youth, and transition age youth. We currently operate the area's only emergency shelter and drop-in center for runaway, homeless and street youth. Wind has been recognized as the leader for homeless youth services in Sacramento County by both Sacramento County and the City of Sacramento. Sacramento County's Continuum of Care has recognized Wind as a vital component of the County's homeless services. We are adaptable, creative, and fully capable of developing at a rapid pace to best meet the needs of the youth with whom we work. We have commensurate data reflecting the impact of our services and the outcomes each program yields.
The youth homeless population in our region continues to grow, while the services provided to this vulnerable population continue to be reduced. Wind Youth Services is the only organization dedicated to serving homeless youth. An estimated 5,000 youth, ages 12-24, are experiencing homelessness in the greater Sacramento area. These youth exist in an array of different settings, created by individual and unique circumstances. Their histories range from childhood trauma, poverty, and abuse to substance usage, abandonment, and lack of available housing resources. The youth we work with are living in shelters, temporary or transitional housing, cars, campgrounds or other public places, motels, and sharing housing with others. Their living situations are unsafe and put them at risk every day.
Our top needs:
  1. Funding: Unrestricted - The homeless youth population has a distinctive set of needs related to education, employment, and mental and physical health, and Wind is the only organization working directly with youth experiencing homelessness in the greater Sacramento area.
  2. Funding: Program - Teen Drop-in Center
  3. Funding: Program - Emergency Shelter
  4. Funding: Program - Permanent Shelter
  5. Volunteers -
Every night in Sacramento, homeless young boys and girls sit in the dark, perhaps in a field, along the river, or in an abandoned building. The lucky ones couch surf if they find a place to crash. Within days of homelessness, the realities of the street strike. It is a short distance from homelessness to sexual abuse and exploitation. We at Wind find that if we can intervene quickly, restore order in the lives of our youth, and get them off the street, we can often get them on track, perhaps even save a life. Wind Youth Services is the only organization in the Sacramento Region providing emergency shelter and services to these at-risk and street homeless youth. Wind Youth Services is a non-profit organization established in 1994 to engage youth experiencing homelessness who need safety from the streets and access to resources to help them move from crisis to healthy functioning and independence. In 2015, the Wind Homeless Youth Drop-In Center had 8,022 visits, provided more than 7,284 meals, provided shelter to nearly 90 youth, and connected 49 youth to permanent housing.

In addition, Wind provides a range of services to homeless and at-risk youth every day, including counseling, a health clinic, showers, laundry, computer access, and hope and support through youth advocates and outreach workers. Wind runs lean, operates smart, carries out work with a fiscal focus, and has a driven passion. I have been involved as a Wind board member for seven years. There are many reasons why I continue to be engaged and inspired by Wind. Mainly, it is that Wind is not turning their back on these youth. No one else in our region is doing the work done by Wind. It is not glamorous and it is often times heart wrenching. Wind is committed to these youth, treating each as an individual. I am always lifted by the smiles and spirit of the youth coming into the Center to seek refuge from the streets and the difficulties they face on a daily basis. It is inspiring to see their strength and resolve and witness the comfort and peace the security and services offered by Wind Youth Services provides them. Witnessing these moments of joy and "normalcy" with these great kids drives me to continue to volunteer and contribute to the life changing programs of Wind. Most of us on the Wind board have learned it takes very little to make a difference in the life of a homeless youth.