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Shelter needed for Langley youth

As temperatures start dipping below zero, homeless shelters begin to fill to capacity.

But homeless youth in Langley technically have no where to go.

Currently, there is no emergency housing for youth in either the City or the Township.

The Gateway of Hope homeless shelter, located in the City of Langley, is for adults over the age of 19 only.

Those underage must go either to Abbotsford, Surrey or even Vancouver.

Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services plans to change that.

With $10,000 in new funding, split between the City of Langley and the Township of Langley, a pilot project for an emergency youth shelter will be started.

It is important to get the project off the ground right away, Councillor Michelle Sparrow told Township council on Nov. 19.

“At the very least we need to get this moving and to get this up and running this winter so that the youth in our community are cared for,” she said.

Sparrow brought forth a motion to provide $5,000 from council contingency to match the amount donated by the City of Langley for the project.

Councillor Kim Richter, who voted against the motion, said she is concerned that this type of funding will set a precedent for the future, as the issue is not mandated to municipal governments.

“This is clearly a social problem that is under the jurisdiction of a higher level of government,” she said. “Once we stick our noses into it, it’s going to become our problem on a regular, ongoing, year to year basis.”

Councillor Charlie Fox, a board of director for Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services, noted that there was a proposal to build a youth shelter in Aldergrove a year ago, but the Ministry of Children and Family Development pulled funding for it “at the last minute.”

“Where is the Ministry for Children and Family Development? Where are they supporting the youth, whose lives are literally in endangerment when it gets to cold weather?” he asked.

Fox also made a motion to have the MCFD come to council and make a presentation so they can be “held accountable” for their role in the issue of youth homelessness.

“We have homelessness here,” he said.  “We need to deal with the homeless youth here.”

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