Homeless youth in Langley will soon have a safe, warm place to sleep.
The facility, set to open this fall at 20285 62 Ave., will feature five beds, showers, laundry, as well as access to many youth services and programs. It will also be the new home for the Langley Youth Hub, which Encompass Support Services Society currently runs two nights a week in Langley City.
“We’re excited that we’re finally breaking ground. It’s been a long journey, but I think the really unique part of this for us is that it’s really community oriented,” said Loren Roberts, director of operations and organizational development for Encompass Support Services Society.
“I think at the end of the day, the really nice part about it is that it wasn’t just us doing it. The community came together and said, ‘Let’s do this.’ Everything fell into place and it didn’t feel like work.”
Currently, the Youth Hub has between 10 and 15 service providers who come in and offer their services to youth for free, including doctors, child youth mental health commissions, aboriginal service providers and substance abuse councillors, Roberts said. With the new facility, they will be able to expand their hours, and create new initiatives for the young people involved.
“We wouldn’t have got there without all of the service providers to provide all of their time and energy,” Roberts said. “It wouldn’t have the same drive. If it was us, we would have done it five years ago. But obviously it took the community to really get it up and going. So we’re really exited about it.”
The custom-made building, provided by Shelter Modular, is being constructed off-site, and “kind of like Lego” will be quickly be installed on the property, Roberts added.
“It’s going to be one of the quickest builds from ground breaking to ribbon cutting I think in the history of the Township of Langley,” Mayor Jack Froese said. “We’re looking forward to it for our young people who are in need of this facility. It’s going to bring everything together, all of their needs in one place, and a shelter where those who need a bed for the night can have one. I think it’s great for Langley.”
Langley students have raised $18,000 for the project, and the province is contributing a further $355,000 through BC Housing. The Township is providing the land, valued at $450,000.
Funding and support is still needed to enhance the $200,000 of in-kind programming offered by partner agencies. To contribute, visit langleyyouthhub.com or contact Encompass Support Services Society.