To know, love, and serve street-dependent youth in Austin, Texas

By giving now we will keep doing great work together, and it will save us costly fundraising later this summer and fall.
Help with our current fundraising through June 30!
In January 2017, Street Youth Ministry expanded the scope of our services to respond to the immediate closure of a federally funded health and human services center that had exclusively served our younger clients for years. While we were unsure if our new services could meet the continuing needs of our clients, we knew we needed to try. The great news is that it's working very well after four months of operations. We now provide 250 more meals, 50 more clothing outfits, and 14 more hours of operationIt's been a big success and helped meet the needs of our clients well. 

Now it is time for us to address our financial needs, since we know the service is being provided well. We essentially merged the operations of the outgoing service's $400,000/year "drop-in center with those of our $200,000/year ministry. We project this will add only $110,000/year to our costs. We knew this was a big challenge, so we've taken it step by step. First, we added new staff, new procedures and new hours in January through March while preserving the unique SYM offerings our clients have loved over the years. Next, we broke even in April with some special fundraising from out-of-town high tech friends of our founder, Terry Cole. Now, we are engaged in a word-of-mouth fundraising campaign for May and June, mostly regional, to break even for the 12 months ending June 30This summer, our missionaries will do individual fund-raising in their communities. Then we will make one final drive in November and December to leave the year in good financial position. I urge you to consider donating now

This is a perfect example of local activism doing what once was once done by the federal government. We must find it in our hearts to fund services like these that are so critical to the young homeless adults and runaways who are in our region. We are working with ECHO and HUD to permanently end youth homelessness by 2020 in our region. In the meantime, critical needs like food, clothing, toiletries, a safe place for community and mentorship -- all of which we provide now -- are vital to street youth. Your support means serving 60 individuals every week. The outcomes are fantastic! They don't grow into chronic older homeless people. They do amazing things as they gain stability and attain entry level education, employment and housing already provided in our community. Donate below to support our new drop-in services. If you want to help us fund-raise, simply email terry@StreetYouthMinistry.org -- it's a simple process to set up a tax-deductible online form to share with your friends as part of a graduation celebration, Father's Day, or other summer kickoff event! We need your support by June 30, online or mailed directly to Street Youth Ministry, 408 W 23rd Street Basement, Austin TX 78705. Thank you!


Who we serve

Our ministry targets street-dependent young people and travelers in Austin. 

The average age of our clients is 23. More than half were in foster care in Texas. Thirty percent are women. Some travel from city to city frequently, often by freight trains, and others are more local. They are often invisible and unwanted and, as a result, very mobile. They generally prefer to be called street youth rather than homeless. Our word for them is street-dependent, since they depend on the street for food, clothing, shelter, self-care, friends and support. When they first come to the street, the street is often the best place they have ever experienced. Their needs are quite different than a typical older homeless person. This is why SYM exists.

We met 228 new street youth in 2016 and served 533 unique individuals. In our service area in 2016, we averaged 65 individuals each week, about 15% new, 75% continuing from the previous week, and about 10% returning from the past. The 2015 Homeless Point in-Time Count showed 1877 homeless individuals in Austin. The 2016 Youth Voices Count census showed 133 homeless youth 25 years old under under in Travis County.

What we do

For our clients

Not only do we build relationships with our clients, but we also provide crucial resources such as meals and snacks, socks, toiletries, and clothing. We provide bus passes when working toward goals and college textbooks when enrolled in school!

At 11am, we hold a relationship-building activity. You need to arrive no later than 11:30 to be included. We share a meal together and get to know one another. At 1pm, our co-op team members clean, restock and prepare our drop-in for opening. We realize that not everyone is ready to be a co-op team member, but we expect that everyone will get there. Our drop-in is open from 2-6pm in a come and go format. Our drop-in is easy to access and resembles an apartment, with a kitchen for food, a closet for clothing, a pantry for food, a medicine cabinet for toiletries and first aid supplies, bunk-beds for napping, and a home office for taking care of business.

In addition, we provide access to strengths-based guidance counseling, prayer requests, group activities at 3pm, worship, Bible study, and safe fun activities. When the need arises, we provide candlelight vigils and memorial services.

For our volunteers and supporters

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 hours shifts. During our relationship event, you will do familiar things such as food preparation, setting the table, sharing a meal, and cleanup. During our come and go events, you will do familiar things like sorting mail, baking snacks, heating food, logging donated items for our pantry or closet, greeting people, or helping clients in the home office with referrals or other information.

How to Help Us