Youth Advocate – PT

Employment Status



Open Until Filled


Des Moines, IA

The Youth Opportunity Center (YOC) Youth Advocate will supervise, provide support and establish rapport with Youth Opportunity Center participants including Emergency Bed and Drop In during assigned hours, while providing an atmosphere of safety and mutual respect. Participants will be young adults 16-24 who are experiencing homelessness, at risk of homelessness and or recently housed. The YOC Youth Advocate will work to ensure all basic needs of the participants are met, and that they are provided with a safe, stable environment in which to work towards stability. Responsible for the daily functioning of the drop in programming including checking youth into the YOC,  providing emergency needs for youth such as bedding, food and hygiene, assisting with implementation of case plans such as life skill classes and crisis intervention.  

  • High school diploma with two years full-time experience in the human service field.
  • A Bachelor’s degree in human services can substitute years of direct experience.
  • Ability to work respectfully with clients, coworkers, and stakeholders who are diverse with respect to race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and religion is essential.
  • Hold a valid Iowa Driver’s license and acceptable driving record.  Applicants are required to submit a valid driver’s license and a motor vehicle report prior to hiring.

Preferred :

  • Knowledge of the needs of young people experiencing homelessness and an understanding of the intervention strategies available to address these needs, including an understanding of child and youth development, knowledge of group dynamics, basic counseling skills and an ability to implement appropriate interventions is essential.
  • Experience working with individuals of diverse identities, including racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation and socio-economic status is preferred.
  • Direct Experience working with at risk youth population highly preferred. Relevant experience would include training or experience in human services and basic counseling.
  • Skills and knowledge may include First Aid and CPR certification, crisis intervention, child and adolescent development, individual or group counseling, motivational interviewing, trauma informed care and harm reduction.
  • Conduct intakes with new youth and orient them to the Youth Opportunity Center.
  • Provide program information to potential clients, referral sources, and other groups, both in person and over the phone, as needed.
  •  Relate to clients in a caring, supportive manner, while enforcing program rules and guidelines consistently, firmly, and fairly.
  • Build a rapport with all Youth that access the Youth Opportunity Center
  • Oversee client activities such as chores, laundry, wake-up, and personal hygiene.  Is aware of clients' presence and behavior at all times.
  • Assist clients in meeting basic needs such as food, clothing, bedding, personal care products, laundry, and safety.
  • Check in any pocket knives or potential weapons from youth to ensure that there are no weapons or illegal substances unsecured in the facility.
  • Alert on-call staff or Program Manager of major incidents or emergencies.
  • Ensure safety, cleanliness, and appearance of the facility.
  • Clean out recently vacated rooms: bagging and labeling personal up items, washing bedding, sweep/mop/sanitize entire room.
  • Assist and track inventory of household supplies, personal care products, and food items.
  • Daily data entry into Service Point including intakes, services and case notes.
  • Maintain open communication with Primary Health Care about vacancies in program.
  • Complete all necessary logging, shift reports, and other documentation.
  • Attend all Team meetings and Staff meetings if scheduled during work hours.
  • Work at least one shift on the weekend
  • Teach youth living skills around independent living and assist in providing recreational activities.
  • Transport clients as deemed necessary to meet their case plan goals.
  • Attend in-service trainings as needed.
  • Attend monthly supervisory meeting with supervisor.

All applicants are required to complete an online application.
YSS hires nicotine free staff only. EOE