Y2Y opened in Harvard Square in December 2015, so that all young people have a safe place to sleep and the resources they need to succeed. The founding team met while volunteering at Phillip Brooks House Association’s Harvard Square Homeless Shelter (HSHS), where during their service, they saw more and more young people come through their doors.
Over the course of several years, Y2Y learned that young adults needed a youth-driven space because they didn’t feel safe staying in adult shelters. However, the youth-run HSHS was consistently regarded as a safe space for young people. Given that there were only 12 beds specifically for young adults in Greater Boston, it was critical to work to meet this need.
The Wagner Foundation supports the remarkable work and initiative of the student-run Y2Y Harvard Square in meeting young people where they are and providing wrap-around services, creating pathways to a brighter future. Leveraging their data to serve as advocates to promote policy decisions will help move the needle to produce lasting change.
Y2Y Harvard Square, a student-run overnight shelter, employs a youth-to-youth model to provide a safe and affirming environment for young adults experiencing homelessness. Y2Y guests have opportunities to collaborate with service providers, other youth experiencing homelessness, and student volunteers to create sustainable pathways out of homelessness and develop skills for long-term success. Y2Y provides opportunities for both guests and volunteers to become the next generation’s leading advocates for youth-driven solutions to homelessness.