We ask you to imagine yourself at 16 years of age.
Imagine if at this pivotal time in your life, you found yourself homeless. What would you do if you were not fortunate enough to have loved ones to lean on?
Sadly this is the predicament that many young people in our community face. Those exiting the child protective care system are especially at risk of experiencing homelessness. With this vulnerable population in mind, Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) is proud to highlight 340 Richmond St, a collaborative vision between YOU and The Children’s Aid Society of London & Middlesex (CASLM).
340 Richmond St is a heritage property that YOU has renovated and converted into 6 supportive housing units for CASLM clients over the age of 16. Tenants are able to live independently in their apartments, while benefitting from 24-hour care and wraparound supports available at YOU. The main floor of the building hosts an employment resource centre for youth, providing ease of access to YOU’s Employment Counselling, GED program, Ontario Works trustee services, and job development supports.
"Living at 340 has made everything more accessible including employment and education, and it has allowed me to build my independence. I can access supports at the Youth Action Centre and was able to complete my program hours at the YOU Made It Café just downstairs, where I have received hands on training with the incredible support from Peer Mentors. Since starting at the Café my confidence has grown significantly and I love working in customer service!" – Tenant of 340 Richmond
The location opened in Spring of 2020, and YOU has since received a London Heritage Award for this Adaptive Re-Use Project. This award speaks to the high quality of housing and supports offered, as we know that investing in youth and strong communities go hand in hand. We want to acknowledge the architect responsible for this restoration, Cornerstone Architecture, as well as the General Contractor, Graceview Enterprises.
We are extremely grateful to our partners and donors who have made this vision a reality! We thank the Government of Canada for its’ contribution with the National Co-Investment Fund, as well as the London Community Foundation for their loan through their Social Impact Fund. We would be remiss if we too did not acknowledge the legacy campaign of Mike Sloan, and the tremendous support of his followers!
Together, we have built a space that young people will call home. We have built a space where our community’s youth will feel safe, embraced, and supported on their path into adulthood.
Address from CASLM
The Children’s Aid Society of London & Middlesex (CASLM) is very proud of our relationship with YOU. A recent example of collaborating to achieve better outcomes for youth is 340 Richmond Street.
Effective January 1, 2018, Ontario increased the age of protection to include 16 and 17-year-olds, meaning they were eligible for the full range of protection services under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act. The intent was to better protect vulnerable youth in unsafe living conditions, reduce homelessness and human trafficking, and to provide support for education and life goals leading to better outcomes in their transition to adulthood.
CASLM and YOU immediately identified a gap in our community with regards to safe and supportive housing for these youth. In partnership, we developed 340 Richmond Street to provide three apartments for those 16 to 17, as well as three additional apartments for youth leaving the care of the Society between the ages of 18 to 21. These apartments enable independent living alongside a suite of services offered by YOU staff.
Thank you YOU for working with us in our shared commitment towards a positive impact on the lives of youth both today and in the future.”
– Kristian Wilson, Senior Service Director at CASLM
“At a time when agencies reduced services due to the global pandemic, there could not have been a more important time to open the doors of 340 Richmond. By providing six apartments, Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) in partnership with the Children’s Aid Society of London Middlesex (CASLM), have been able to offer stability to youth in a very uncertain time through daily, intensive support such as life skills development, educational referrals and employment supports. I am proud to work for and with agencies that understand that time is a crucial variable in a youth's journey, and that nothing will stop us from prioritizing the needs of a youth.”
– Jason Manseau, Housing Team Leader at YOU
“"I like it here because we get to be independent and the staff are helpful. I feel safe knowing there is security available."
– Youth & Tenant of 340 Richmond
"Through investments in like this, our Government is providing assistance to those who need it most here in London and in all corners of the country. We are committed to making communities stronger through projects like these. These investments help create new jobs and stimulate the local economy, while providing access to safe, affordable homes for Canadians." – Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
"This investment will make a real difference in this community and the lives of the young adults who will call call 340 Richmond Street home. Our Government remains committed to working with various partners to develop and implement solutions to housing both in here in London and across Canada." – Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament For London North Centre