The Bridge and MELD at YSN Homeless Shelters
Youth Services Network operates two emergency youth shelters. One shelter for young men (The Bridge) and one shelter for young women (MELD), including young women with children. Both shelters are licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services to house residents between the ages of 14 – 21. The Bridge is licensed for 6 youth, and the MELD shelter is licensed for 16 youth. Both shelters are staffed twenty-four hours per day. While at the shelter, the needs of each young person/family are assessed and appropriate linkages to other community agencies, schools, etc. are made. Community staffings are held with all agencies involved with the person/family and a service plan is agreed upon and implemented. The main goal of both shelters is to transition the youth and their families into stable housing.
MELD at YSN Transitional Living Program
Youth Services Network has a total of 16 apartments for young women and their families ages 17-24. Young families interested in the Transitional Living Program are referred to the program through the City of Rockford’s Single Point of Entry (SPOE) system. Parents live with their children in apartments and are responsible for paying their own rent, based on their income, and maintaining their living residence. Families with no previous experience at living on their own reside in the Phase II level, located on the third floor of the MELD at YSN shelter. Those with some independent living experience, enter the program at the Phase III level, living in YSN apartments located in the community. The goal of the Transitional lIving Program is to develop the appropriate independent living skills necessary to be self-sufficient in permanent housing.
Permanent Housing Programs
Youth Services Network provides permanent housing for homeless young men and homeless young families between the ages of 18-24. There are currently 6 permanent housing units for young men and 12 permanent housing units for young families. Services provided include assessment and case management, short and long-term rental subsidies, and linkage and referral to other community agencies, as needed. The primary focus of this program is housing stabilization.
Outreach and Community Case Management
Youth Services Network partners with the City of Rockford’s Single Point of entry (SPOE) system to provide outreach and intensive case management support to youth who are currently homeless, at risk of homelessness, or formerly homeless. Youth, in the community, who are not residing in one of the above listed programs are eligible to receive services to help obtain and maintain stable housing. This program has been developed with the Rock River Homeless Coalition, with an emphasis on ending youth homelessness in Winnebago/Boone counties.