Street Youth Ministry

Organizational Overview

Street Youth Ministry
408 W. 23rd St. Basement
Austin, Texas 78705

Mission Statement

Street Youth Ministry of Austin exists to know, love and serve street-dependent young people. Each year we have a specific focus. This year it's preparing our clients for housing.

We seek funding for our new Street Youth Ministry Drop-In Cooperative, which opened Jan. 6 in the basement of the Congregational Church of Austin, 408 W. 23rd St. The Drop-In combines services previously provided at that location by a local nonprofit that lost federal funding with those offered by SYM for the past eight years. Clients can obtain safety net services, receive guidance counseling, and learn soft life skills for jobs and apartment living. Added through partnerships with local agencies, clients get access to professional group and individual counseling, case management and education units specifically created for street youth delivered by UT grad students.

Your generous gift buys:
• Delivery of 170 meals per week (usually double helpings) to young adults who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or recently housed but not yet stable
• Delivery of 50 outfits of clothing per week.
• 250 hours per week of practicing life skills in our Drop-In Cooperative by 65 unique clients. This includes sweeping, mopping, bussing their own dishes, cleaning dishes, doing laundry, and straightening up our shared space as well as learning to negotiate with "roommates" over cleanliness, shared items and shared space. We also teach nutrition, home economics, and cooking. These are the things clients have told us through debriefing that cause them to leave or lose free or subsidized housing most frequently.
• Access to 12 hours per week of learning opportunities provided by UT grad students on topics including drug abuse, safe sex, communication styles, mental health.
• Access to group and individual counseling and case management provided by SYM staff and other professionals who can meet casually or by appointment in our space.

Impact Statement

Highlighted Results:

Twenty-seven of our clients were included in the pilot group of the 100-Day HUD challenge to house 50 young people literally homeless and under 25 this past fall. In part, due to these results, Austin received a $5.5 million pilot community grant to house young homeless people from HUD for 2017. We are part of the group to study how to best use this, although we do not have access to any funding through this program from Washington. However, we have already deployed our services to teach our clients new soft skills daily so they are more prepared for housing when the community program resumes its focus on young adults, expected later this year. We base our results on debriefing clients housed last year during the pilot. We are the only organization in daily contact with these youth with a facility where they can practice regularly these necessary home economic and social skills.
In addition, we saved from permanent closure the only daily drop-in facility that has served street-dependent youth for the past 16 years after it lost federal funding in October and closed its doors on Dec 22, 2016. We had approximately 10 days to turn it around and reopen it on Jan 6, 2017. We had 127 unique clients in the reopened space in January compared to 75 the previous January at our indoor events. Our clients reported achieving 98 goals compared to 35 the previous January. What we need to keep these fantastic results coming is $110,000 in new local funding this year to replace the funding lost from Washington for this important local resource for homeless youth.

Community Support

Our total budget for 2017 is $329.000. To have such a large impact on so many young lives in Austin with such a relatively small budget, we depend on very broad support from our community. And this year, we need our community to help us raise the $110,000 in extra budget growth we have taken on to stop the closing of this much-needed facility. Here are some stats from 2016 to demonstrate just how much the community gets involved:
1. We were provided $11,194 in food to give to our clients at our weekly events. Because of our expanded facility and hours, we need even more now! We work with Wheatsville Co-op to receive surplus fresh food weekly. And we have donors who regularly save food that would have been otherwise wasted for our clients. Volunteers regularly provide sandwiches for an on-the-go option, too.
2. We received $37,644 in donated clothing and other non-food items to give our clients. Socks, blankets, sleeping bags, shoes, leashes, dog food, pants/shorts, toiletries, Bibles, sci-fi and mystery books were among the more popular. We work with many groups to prevent textiles from going into the landfill and receive and sort them instead.
3. We have 921 prayer warriors who open their emails and pray for our clients every month! Wow! Join today at
4. Our volunteers gave 1,954 of their hours for our clients! That's the equivalent of a full-time person! It helps our staff to focus on needier clients.
5. Volunteers spent 3,137 hours working behind the scenes, gathering non-food items, making food, or doing administrative work. This brings new skills to our work, reduces cost, and frees staff for critical preparation tasks that only they can do.
6. We had 2,781 people who have opted into our quarterly newsletter emails to learn more about us. Sign up to get one at
7. Our stories, photos, and needs list are followed by 1,889 people on Facebook. Please follow us and share with your friends today!
8. 2016 was a very productive year: We met with our clients 8,928 times. That's an average of 744 times per month or 178 times per week! That's in our events, at our partners' locations, or on the street.
9. We served 510 unique clients, of whom we saw 231 for the first time last year!
10. Clients achieved 865 goals. 77% were stability goals. 16% were sobriety goals. And 7% were faith- and church-related goals.
11. We are Facebook friends with 526 past and current clients. This is one of the ways we are real and relevant in their lives, resulting in greater and longer impact.
12. We provided 1,428 hours of training to volunteers and the general public. That's through our volunteer training and speaking engagements. You can invite us to speak on our "About" page.

Needs Statement

A complete, up-to-date list of needed items can be found at SYM always needs baked goods. We use them up quickly with so many young people. We are happy to take leftover sandwiches and sweets from meetings and events. These are frozen and then used for our weekly events. We can always use chips (regular bags or individual packages), disposable plates and cups.

Street Youth Ministry needs modest quantities of the following for direct benefit of Austin street youth. We are able to store quite a few things in donated storage!
•Priority Items:
◦Hoodies, fleeces and coats: adult sizes
◦Water bottles (so we can be greener)
◦Sleeping bags
◦Underwear (new or freshly washed; most male clients prefer boxers), adult sizes.
◦Pet equipment: collars, leashes, collapsing bowls, nail trimmers; dog food, cat food.
◦Sample sizes of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, soap and other toiletries
◦Lace-up boots, work shoes, tennis, or running shoes (adult sizes) (Please write size on sole with permanent marker and tie matching shoes together in a single bow with both laces)

A typically difficult client recently shared with us as she helped wash dishes, a chore she was reluctant to pitch in and do at first. She said, "I like it here because you are helping us eat healthier -- not out of a can. And I like the atmosphere of cooperation here. It's because you've made it clear to everybody who comes here that you expect things from us. It feels good."

"I just wanted to say thank you for everything you do for all the street kids in Austin. I am really grateful for everything you do for me, even when it seems like I don't. So I just wanted to say thank you." [After a compliment on her appearance] "Thanks! I looked good because of one of your programs that helped me look like that. I am trying." -- a client

"I just wanted to say thank you for everything that you did for me while I was homeless. Nowadays I am a culinary student at [a college.] I own my own home now. You were always one I could talk to about anything and always knew the right advice to give for every situation. I can't thank you enough for your guidance and support during my darkest days. Sincerely, a recovery client.

We give individuals safe and predictable access to our clients that they would otherwise find challenging to create. Volunteers can make a real impact in the lives of people who have rarely been accepted or loved. We train all our volunteers in safe practices and boundaries. Volunteer work in 2-hour shifts. During our relationship event, volunteers do familiar things such as food preparation, setting the table, sharing a meal, and cleanup. During our come and go events, they do familiar things like sorting mail, baking snacks, heating food, logging donated items for our pantry or closet, greeting people, or helping clients with referrals or other information.
Amount: $2,000
Sponsored By:

Contributions from first-time donors will be matched at a rate of 25% by an anonymous supporter of Street Youth Ministry.