For over 40 years, the Youth Shelter Program of Westchester, Inc., has been providing a home-like alternative to jail for young men awaiting disposition of various criminal charges. Conceived by a Westchester judge and school teacher who recognized the need for early intervention in the lives of young offenders, the YSPW was formally incorporated as a not-for-profit in New York in 1975. Its initial mission was to formulate a plan and solicit funds for a temporary shelter or residential facility for youth prior to trial.
Within two years a suitable residential facility was found on Eighth Street in Mount Vernon, New York, and was completely renovated according to standards established by the New York State Department of Social Services with the assistance of Westchester County and the United States Law Enforcement Assistance Administration.
The Youth Shelter first opened its doors to young men in 1978. Its certificate of incorporation was amended to specify that services were to be offered to individuals between the ages of 16 to 21. It has operated at the same location in Mount Vernon since that time. Currently the facility has twelve beds. There are kitchen and laundry facilities on the premises, as well the program's administrative offices. The Shelter is licensed by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and is the only one of its kind in the state serving youth who are involved in the adult criminal justice system.
Over the years, the YSPW has helped hundreds of young men to address their educational and emotional needs and has helped to guide them on the difficult road to a better life.