Youth Independent Living and Outreach Services

To learn more about the range of services we offer to youth, please watch this video tour:

Youth Independent Living

Housing and Case Management Services

Homeless youth are connected to our fully-furnished transitional housing for up to 18 months. During their time in the program, each youth works with a case manager to develop a plan for the future -- establishing goals in the areas of permanent housing, education, employment, life skills, and other areas as needed. Each week we offer life skills classes and leadership opportunities for the youth, helping them to learn skills and then providing them with opportunities to practice those skills. To learn more -- or to apply for the program -- please call us at 269-381-9800 or submit an inquiry through the website.

Life Skills and Educational and Employment Assistance

Support services are offered to help youth develop essential independent living skills, such as money management, household maintenance, interviewing and resume skills and locating safe and affordable housing. These skills are learned through weekly groups and through one on one relationships.

Emergency Supplies

Youth receive personal hygiene supplies such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap and lotion. Some clothing and nonperishable food items are also available on a limited basis. Referrals are provided as needed to ensure all youth receive necessary supplies.

For donations to the YIL program, please see "In-kind and Material Support" under Ways to Give.

Transitional Housing Opportunities

We have a variety of Transitional Housing Opportunities for homeless youth ages 16-21. Please contact us at 269-381-9800 or attend a drop-in to learn more about these options.

The Ark Cottages Permanent Supportive Housing

The Ark Cottages include nine units for older homeless youth, ages 18-24 when entering the program. Youth create a housing plan and receive services to help them be successful in their new home. Contact us at 269-381-9800 for more information.

The Ark Shelter

The Ark is a only short-term, voluntary shelter serving nine counties in southwest Michigan. Youth ages 10-17 who have run away, are in danger of becoming homeless or who are in a crisis situation are eligible. Counseling and support services are offered to youth and their families. Contact us at 269-381-9800 for more information.

Community Outreach

Serving Youth In Their Local Community

Staff members are available to come to your school or organization to provide information about all the services offered by The Ark. We can personalize these sessions to any audience and encourage you to call us to learn more.

We also offer prevention services to youth who are precariously housed in their own community. Youth and families in crisis can access up to 90 days of prevention and outreach services. Staff travel to the youth's home in any of the nine counties we serve -- Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St Joseph, or Van Buren. Staff provide personalized and intensive services and help connect the family to long-term resources. The youth (and family) develop specific goals and work with case managers to achieve those goals, building stability and self-sufficiency in the process.

Drop In Centers

Every Monday from 3 PM to 5 PM Drop In Centers are held at The Van Domelen Center (1441 S. Westnedge Ave in Kalamazoo). Every Thursday from 3 PM to 5 PM they are held at the Ark Shelter (990 West Kilgore). Homeless/Runaway youth between the ages of 16 -21 may stop by for free food, personal care items, shower and laundry facilities, access to computers, one-on-one consultation with a case manager and referrals to community resources. Drop-Ins are also offered in all nine counties -- contact us at 269-381-9800 to learn when they will occur as times and locations vary each month.