Grant helps Alouette Home Start Society keep youth safe house open

Some grants from here, some outright gifts from there and the Alouette Home Start Society keeps limping along and keeping the doors open..

Some grants from here, some outright gifts from there and the Alouette Home Start Society keeps limping along and keeping the doors open to its Iron Horse Youth Safe House.

Not at night, however, as the five emergency beds for kids between 13 and 18 closed in January after federal funding was no longer available.

But the safe house is open during the days and evening hours to offer help for kids who are in trouble.

Last week, the society received $27,000 from the B.C. Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Doug Bing made the announcement.

The Iron Horse Youth Services offers support, safety and advocacy for youth in need of support. Kids can get food, counselling about education or employment needs, substance use management, mental health wellness, or finding a home or just be referred to a safe place to stay for the night.

In addition to government help, the Colleen Findlay Foundation also chipped in money, volunteers and gifts in kind.

“We have a strong interest in helping young people make good choices in order to succeed and I feel that Iron Horse offers an excellent program that we easily decided to support,” say local dentist Dr. Jim Findlay.

Bean Around Books and Tea in Maple Ridge also gave $2,600 for the youth safe house after Dan Ruimy, Matt Baillie and Leah Burnell set a Guinness World Record by playing a board game for 72 hours.

The society didn’t apply for funding last year because it didn’t expect to be funded under the federal government’s new Housing First program that directs dollars to housing people rather than providing emergency services. Realtors have also chipped as well as the owners of local Tim Hortons’ franchises.

Alouette Home Start Society board president Marika Sandrelli said donations from the private sector have kept the youth services program going.

“We try to be as responsive as possible to the needs that we see,” says Tara Pozsonyi, coordinator of youth services.

“We will continue to expand our services as we are able, given the resources that are available to us.”