PHILADELPHIA (Nov. 12, 2019)People’s Emergency Center (PEC) and Youth Service Inc. (YSI), two Philadelphia nonprofit agencies with a long history of providing critical services to vulnerable children, families, and youth in the city, announced today that they have notified the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General of their intention to affiliate.

“The affiliation of PEC and YSI will create a strategic partnership to integrate services and provide a continuum of services that will enable us to have a greater impact on those we serve,” said Kathy Desmond, president of PEC.

The two agencies have already partnered for several years on parenting programs, respite shelters for young children, and services for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness.

“As a combined entity, we can better share our complementary services and expand services by combining our resources and leveraging each organization’s specialized expertise,” said Gwen Bailey, executive director of YSI.

YSI will retain most of its operational and governance structures for a three-year transitional period. PEC will then assume full operational and governance responsibilities for YSI.

During the transition, Ms. Desmond will continue to serve as head of PEC while sharing oversight responsibilities over YSI with Ms. Bailey. Ms. Bailey will continue to serve as head of YSI and will become a part of PEC’s leadership team.

PEC and YSI will continue to operate their current programs while pursuing opportunities to create new programs and develop operational efficiencies.

PEC and YSI: a natural fit

The affiliation capitalizes on many synergies between the two agencies: similar service populations, a service mix that is both distinct and complementary, and mutual work that addresses the city’s strategies to improve the housing and support options for vulnerable children, youth, and families.

PEC and YSI currently serve many of the same populations: families, young children (early childhood: age 0-5), school-aged children (age 6-12), youth (age 13-17), young adults (18-26), and adults (27+), as well as communities in West Philadelphia. These children, youth, and families often have experienced trauma; are vulnerable to barriers in housing, education, or employment; and lack the ability to sustain their families in a safe, stable and supportive environment.

PEC and YSI now provide services that are both distinct and overlapping: housing, temporary shelter and supportive services; child abuse and neglect prevention services; intervention services; education; and economic development opportunities for families, children, youth, and communities.

Here are key program areas of each agency and benefits to be gained through the affiliation:

  • Housing and community development. PEC offers several housing and supportive services for families, children and youth experiencing homelessness. PEC’s Community Development Corporation expands mixed-income housing opportunities and provides economic development and quality of life programing. YSI provides immediate shelter for teens; emergency care and shelter for young children at a crisis nursery; and services for young adults experiencing homelessness.

Together, the agencies can provide more housing options for all of their clients. The resources and connections of both agencies will also enable them to grow their efforts in the communities they collectively serve: West Philadelphia, Germantown, and North Philadelphia.

  • Family support and education. Both agencies’ services are trauma-informed, strengths-based, and solution-focused. PEC offers job training; parenting and early childhood education; financial education and planning; and life skills and technology classes. YSI offers counseling and in-home support services to children, youth and families to strengthen families, foster self-sufficiency and develop the health and well-being of children and the family unit, including life and job skills.

Clients of both agencies will be able to more seamlessly access the combined array of services.

  • Policy and advocacy. PEC is a leader in policy work and public education to address issues relating to families, children, and youth who experience homelessness. YSI is active in youth homelessness policy work.

Combining forces will strengthen the agencies’ mutual advocacy efforts and voice.

More about PEC and YSI

People’s Emergency Center (PEC)  was founded in 1972 and is located in West Philadelphia. PEC’s mission is to nurture families, strengthen neighborhoods, and drive change. For families, children and youth experiencing homelessness, PEC offers more than 235 affordable housing units, job training, parenting and early childhood education, financial education and planning, and life skills and technology classes. PEC seeks to change the life trajectory for the families and youth who seek its services and inspire them to achieve housing security and financial stability.

PEC Community Development Corporation (PECCDC) programs respond to community needs and build on neighborhood assets to help bridge the digital divide, expand mixed-income housing opportunities, stimulate economic growth, create wealth, and improve the quality of life for all West Philadelphia residents.

PEC has about 100 employees.

Youth Service Inc. (YSI) was founded in 1952 and is based in West Philadelphia. Its mission is to offer accessible, high-quality services to vulnerable children, youth, and families who have often experienced trauma. YSI provides respite, prevention, intervention, and shelter services to children, youth, and families in West Philadelphia, Germantown, and North Philadelphia. YSI offers unique programs and niche services, including Philadelphia’s only crisis nursery program and the longest-standing shelter in the area for runaway teens and those experiencing homelessness. YSI employs about 100 people.


For more information, contact:

Trish Downey, People’s Emergency Center Linda Wolohan, Youth Service Inc.
Direct: 267-777-5811 Cell: 267-625-6982
Cell: 267-334-5778