Spectrum Youth & Family Services

Burlington, Vermont

Contact Info.

31 Elmwood Avenue 
Burlington, VT 05401


Spectrum Youth & Family Services, founded in 1970, is a nationally recognized leader in helping youth ages 12-26 and their families turn their lives around. Each year, the agency provides housing and support services for 2,000 teenagers, young adults, people with a history of violence, and their families.

In 2013, The New York Times profiled Spectrum’s Rapid Referral Program for its efficacy at reducing re-offenses among youth charged with drug- and alcohol-related crimes.

Spectrum supports and helps kids address factors that can interfere with their transition to adulthood, such as mental health, physical health, joblessness, and substance abuse. Spectrum staff work one-on-one with each client and their family members to empower them to change their lives through prevention, intervention, and life skills services.

Youth have access to all of Spectrum’s programs:

Spectrum’s emergency shelter is a short-term housing option for homeless youth ages 16-22 that provides safety, resources, and support for clients while they develop a plan to address their needs, goals, and permanent housing.

Spectrum has two transitional housing residences with a total of 17 beds. These voluntary programs help residents develop individual living skills and provide a bridge to independent living through a structured and supportive community. These residences have private rooms, shared bathrooms, and common living areas. The Maple Street Residence serves youth ages 17-22, and is a collaboration between Spectrum, the Champlain Housing Trust, and the Burlington Housing Authority. The Pearl Street Residence serves youth ages 18-22 who have been in or are aging out of state custody, and is a collaboration between Spectrum and the Burlington Housing Authority. Youth who complete the supported housing program at Spectrum are eligible for Section 8 subsidized rent certificates.

The Drop-In Center, located at 177 Pearl Street in downtown Burlington, is a safe place for young people to get two meals daily, do laundry, use the telephone, get clothing, take a shower, and take skills classes in a collaborative environment.

Next to the Drop-In Center, at 179 Pearl Street, is the Pearl Street Youth Health Center operated by the Community Health Centers of Burlington. The health center provides a walk-in, no-cost medical clinic to homeless and at-risk youth, and youth can also get support signing up for health insurance.

The Spectrum skills programs provide coaching and mentoring for young people on basic life and survival skills.

The Youth Development Program serves about 200 youth each year who are or have been in foster care or state custody through the Department for Children and Families.

The J.O.B.S. Program (Jump On Board for Success) is an intensive case-management program in conjunction with the Howard Center and VocRehab VT that focuses on helping young adults find and keep stable and fulfilling employment.

Spectrum’s mental health and substance abuse counseling program provides individual outpatient services for adolescents, young adults, and parents. Staff use strength- and evidence-based best practices that have been nationally recognized for their efficacy.

The Mentoring Program is a community-based program for young adults ages 11-21 and their adult mentors.

The purpose and goals of Spectrum’s Multicultural Youth Program are to provide outreach and resource connection to youth and their families who are new to Vermont from multicultural backgrounds.

Spectrum’s Domestic Violence Intervention and Prevention program, in conjunction with survivors’ advocacy agencies, the Vermont Department of Corrections, and local Domestic Violence Task Forces, works with adult domestic violence offenders to help them change their patterns of behavior.