Tara Pozsonyi and Cheyenne Stebbe worked at the Iron Horse Youth Safe House when it learned that funding had run out in December 2014.

Iron Horse is not being replaced

Long-term housing for youth to open.

The Iron Horse Youth Safe House is not re-opening in Maple Ridge – an issue that was bandied about in the provincial legislature this past week.

But the province is opening a new long-term facility for youth in Maple Ridge, although not an emergency shelter.

B.C. Housing purchased and renovated a house at a cost of $1.035 million.

Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton said that is the facility he and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Doug Bing were announcing last month, but they mistakenly referred to it as the Iron Horse facility.

It was closed by operator Alouette Home Start Society two years ago when federal funding ran out.

Dalton said the location of the new house is protected due to confidentiality issues, but this week the Ministry of Children and Families accepted a bid to operate the facility at a cost of $375,000 per year from Burnaby-based Strive Living Society.

The new project will provide long-term housing up to four youth at risk, aged 13-18, with one staff member on site 24/7, said B.C. Housing.

Youth will have access to health services, including addictions and mental health counselling, life-skills training, employment planning and support in graduating from high school.

On Monday, during question period, Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Carole James asked Housing Minister Rich Coleman where the government was two years ago when the Iron Horse facility closed.

Nelson-Creston Michelle Mungall also questioned ed Coleman, calling the reference to Iron Horse “a major flub by his back bench.”

She said the government allowing Iron Horse to close leaves youth sleeping on couches.

Coleman referenced the new Strive facility as a replacement for Iron Horse, but it provides a different service, for teens already in the care of the Ministry of Children and Families.

Tony Cotroneo, city manager of community services, said it is important for people to understand there is no youth shelter or safe house in the city.

Now, if a young person flees their home, and they are unwilling to return, they will be referred to safe houses in Abbotsford or North Vancouver for a safe place to sleep, he said.

“Unfortunately, that place is not going to be in our community, and that’s a big gap,” said Cotroneo.

That is a problem, because youth in crisis are being disconnected from their communities. They may not return to Maple Ridge, and they may connect with people who are more “high risk” than they are.

Iron Horse was a great service, Cotroneo said.

“It kept local kids in their community they are connected to.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER: Glad voters didn’t pick Mowatt

Letter writer suddenly grateful for outcome of 2014 mayoralty race in Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge rock garden symbolizes transplant patient’s gratitude

Recipient Geoff Dunsire and donor Debi Pearce have create special tribute to B.C.’s transplant team

Most crimes in Pitt Meadows down so far in 2020

RCMP inspector provides update to city council during Tuesday’s online meeting

Pitt Meadows playgrounds start reopening Monday

Fencing and caution tape will be remove, signage promoting good hygiene will be posted

Credit union giving local charities money in a hurry

Envision sets up new Community Response Fund, offering $600,000 in grants to area non-profits

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read