LETTER: Langley must be the village that helps teens in crisis

Editor: I am a student from Walnut Grove Secondary School who has just finished Grade 10.

As part of my July writing program focused on the issue of homeless teens, I have come to realize that this issue in Langley should gain more awareness.

I began my research by reading a federal policy brief, City council minutes, and local newspaper articles. One article from the Langley Times published on April 20, 2016, by Monique Tamminga reported that, “There were up to 200 teens in Langley who didn’t have a home to go to at various times in their lives last year.”

In addition, I interviewed Mr. Loren Roberts who is the Operations Manager of Encompass Support Services Society (ESSS), and works with community partners to raise awareness of the need for a teen homeless shelter specifically for Langley.

Also, ESSS allocated, through a community grant of $50,000 over a four year period, to support the operation of the youth Hub in Langley. The Hub, which is open on Tuesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. provides meals, programs and health services for all teens.

However, there is still a need for municipal, provincial and federal partnerships to provide  planning and funding  before a youth shelter for Langley can become a reality.

Even though I have never been homeless, I know how important it is for families to support each other.

For example, when my family and I were living in Hong Kong, we had to live in a cramped apartment because rental costs were expensive. But my mother would always tell me, “It doesn’t matter if the apartment we live in is compact, as long as we are all together, it’s all that matters.”

I have realized that many teens in Langley who are facing homelessness, need the same reassurance and support that my mother gave to our family.

For these teens, the communities of Langley are their surrogate parents and need to provide an emergency shelter during their time of crisis.

There are youth shelters in both Surrey and Abbotsford. Isn’t it time that Langley does the same?

Sydney Fang,

Grade 10 student,

Walnut Grove Secondary School