YOU's Youth Shelter is now operational and serving our community's youth ages 16-24 who are experiencing homelessness.
Address from Steve Cordes, CEO of YOU
“I started at YOU many years ago in 1984. One of the greatest challenges we have had in being a support to young people, was when a young person lacked housing and didn’t have a safe place to stay, we needed to help them take care of that before anything else. We sent them to general organizations serving all ages, and often they would choose not to follow through. The places were too big, they felt unsafe, and not like it was a community for them.
That was a difficult time for this organization and our community, and we have certainly come a long way since the 1980’s. The City of London put out a call for proposals in 2017 and YOU responded resoundingly; not because we wanted to build a shelter, but because we needed to find a solution with our own resources and that of our partners, to this very fundamental belief that everyone has a right to shelter and housing. We knew we had a part of play in that.
I am not going to be able to say enough to thank the community of donors that has stepped forward to help us make this vision a reality. We have received well over $2 million in community donations for this project. Knowing that for some donors, they are not about bricks and mortar. Nobody stood up and said we want to build a shelter. Every donor that came to us, came to us saying we want to help you resolve this fundamental problem for this community.
Now youth arrive at a space that is a starting point on a journey; one that will lead to a safe ending. It will end in finding safe housing, education and employment opportunities, and in finding a future that all of us deserve; one that is filled with hope and optimism.”
“I am excited to see the YOU Housing First Youth Shelter open and already helping at-risk youth turn their lives around, especially at a time when housing is so central to our well-being. Our Government is proud to have supported the development of this 30-bed shelter with a contribution of close to $3 million through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, a cornerstone initiative of our $55-billion National Housing Strategy.”
– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister responsible for CMHC
A snapshot of homelessness in London:
60%were under the age of 30 when they first experienced homelessness
26%of those accessing shelters are under 25
76%also experience at least two forms of abuse
80%+who received Housing First supports remained housed after the first year
Address from Max Doucet, Youth Shelter Manager.
“YOU’s Youth Shelter became operational on August 17th, 2020 and is serving community youth ages 16-24 who are experiencing homelessness. YOU’s 30 bed, pet-friendly Youth Shelter is built on the Housing First principle that the fundamental needs of youth must first be met in order for them to thrive. By responding to the immediate and urgent need for a safe place to sleep, eat and shower, youth can find long-term stability and discover their potential. Each youth attempting to access shelter will undergo a diversion process to determine if safe alternative housing is an option and ensure accessing shelter is only a last resort. Diversion attempts will continue for the first three days of shelter stay. On the third day, a primary caseworker will be assigned to work with the participant to find safe and permanent housing solutions.
The YOU Youth Shelter is located at 585 Clarke Road and can be contacted directly at (519) 686-1038.” – Max
Recap of the shelter's first month:
- The shelter reached full occupancy on August 28th
- A total of 46 individuals have accessed shelter
- Of these participants, 32 are male and 14 are female
- 1 dog and 1 cat have accessed the shelter
- 5 youth have been housed
- 4 youth have been successfully diverted from shelter
“When I was homeless and living on the streets and when I went to one of the shelters that they wanted to place me in, the room was as big as this room that you have now, and there was like four or five of us in there. So it was really hard and unfortunately I did not stay. I looked at the room and I left because I was so scared that there were so many other people in there.”
– Cheyenne, youth with lived experience.
Call for Donations
Our goal is to solve youth homelessness. You can help by making a donation.
We're also accepting donations of new and gently used bedding, clothing, shoes, toiletries and towels. These items can be dropped off at 585 Clarke Rd 7 days a week between 10am-7pm.