Released October 15, 2010
Choices for Youth
A major housing milestone was celebrated today as Choices for Youth (Choices), along with its government, community and corporate partners came together to officially open the Lilly Building, St. John’s first affordable housing facility for male and female youth facing homelessness.
truly an amazing feeling to now walk through the doors of the Lilly
and see youth feeling at home and receiving the support they need to
their lives and open themselves to a future that is bright and
Sheldon Pollett, Executive Director of Choices for Youth.
The project has received a total of $2.3 million in funding from various federal-provincial initiatives to offset construction costs. This includes $900,000 under the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Affordable Housing Program, cost-shared 50/50 with the federal and provincial governments. Newfoundland Labrador Housing contributed $680,000 through the Housing Trust Funds. The project received $595,000 from the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, and $164,000 from the federal-provincial Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program. The project also received Seed Funding from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to assist during the initial planning stages.
addition, the Government of Newfoundland and
government is truly proud to be supporting this important
initiative,” said the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of
Works and Minister Responsible for the
Speaking on behalf of the Government of Canada, Senator Fabian Manning said, "Our government is giving a hand-up to Canadians with housing needs, and is helping those seeking to break free from the cycle of homelessness and poverty. Through partnerships like this one, we can help vulnerable youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness find safe and temporary housing while they learn new skills and get the support they need to become more self-sufficient."
The project is in response to the hundreds of youth who come through the doors of Choices’ Youth Services Centre every year. For many of these youth, living in unstable, unsafe living conditions has been the only life they’ve known. Since the Young Men’s Shelter opened in 2002 the percentage of youth who repeatedly need to make use of the shelter has reached over 60 per cent. These young men continue to cycle through shelters, boarding houses, apartments, and living with friends and relatives. These youth often have fragmented educational experiences and have been unable to find and maintain employment.
this project, Choices has created a critical link that has been missing
these youth as this new housing model, based on Eva’s phoenix model (
The facility is staffed 24/7 and provides affordable housing to 14 youth at a time for up to one year. The layout of the building was designed in such a way to both maximize the sense of community while also maintaining individual home-spaces in a youth-friendly environment. As such, some of the units are two-bedroom style apartments, with a shared bathroom and kitchenette, others are single bedroom units. Youth will then share community space in the larger kitchens and eating areas, as well as lounge and recreation areas.
“Choices for Youth is growing and it is evident that our community is recognizing the potential of our youth,” added Mr. Pollett. “Through strong ongoing partnerships with all levels of government, the corporate sector, and other community groups, we are well on our way to experiencing even more growth and improving the lives of even more young people who need it most.”