It’s a place where Langley kids can heal, learn, hang out, and for a few, find temporary shelter from the elements.
The Langley Youth Resource Centre, which opened its doors April 3, offers medical care, substance misuse counselling and prevention programs, care from a family physician or nurse practitioner, mental health counselling, and family education and support programs for Langley youth between the ages of 12 and 24.
Downstairs from what will eventually be a five-bed youth housing resource facility, the Hub offers basic needs such as food, bus passes, showers, laundry, clothing, and employment and housing support.
The services and programs of the Hub are currently provided by a projected $250,000 of in-kind donations through partner organizations.
Alison Nicol, programs manager with Encompass Support Services Society, is excited the centre has come to fruition after ground was broken at 6275 203 St., last June.
The future temporary housing resource on the second floor of the modular building gives local youth an opportunity to stay in their hometown, Nicol said.
The minimum age requirement to stay at Langley’s Gateway of Hope shelter is 19, leaving some of Langley’s homeless youth searching for other options.
“That’s the biggest thing we’ve seen in the youth we are supporting along the way,” Nicol said. “If they don’t have anywhere safe that they can be, staying in Langley has never been an option for them before because we haven’t had beds to be able to offer.”
“This is a great start,” she continued. “Five beds doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s a really good starting place along the way where we can really look at the needs and work with the youth and help them to be stable.”
The hope is to have two beds open in the next couple of months.
“Licensing is what dictates our timeline for all five beds being open.”
During last April’s Metro Vancouver homeless count, 50 young people were found to be homeless in Langley. Of those, 28 counted as ‘unsheltered’ and 22 had some form of shelter.
Nicol said youth homelessness in Langley is an issue. “There are youth who are definitely struggling to find safe and stable places to stay, so this is a great opportunity where all these services can be wrapped around them and they’re not having to go from place to place to place.”
The Hub, which had been operating in rented space in Langley City since May 24, 2016, has now found a permanent home on the main floor of the facility.
“We were very happy to announce that our first Hub night was last Tuesday in this (new location),” Hub co-ordinator Phoenix Khattab said on April 9.
Since opening, the Hub has been running Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m.
“During those nights, we really try to focus on providing youth with as whole care as possible — trying to meet as many of their needs as possible,” Khattab said. “We have a coalition of partners who work really hard to be able to provide services to the youth that we support and provide programming (to).”
Khattab said the Hub is a welcoming, safe, and inclusive place for youth to visit. For example, one of the programs offered at the location is Friends of Dorothy, a drop-in support group designed for youth within the LGBTQ2 community.
And all of this wouldn’t be possible without support from many, including the Hub’s coalition partners, according to Nicol.
“We’re exceptionally lucky in Langley,” she said. “There’s a lot of people who have helped this building and the programming come to fruition, and really actively support that it continues to move forward.”
Community partners supporting and providing services to the Youth Hub include:
• Langley Division of Family Practice
• Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Services Society
• Ministry of Child and Family Development
• Stepping Stone Community Services Society
• Langley School District #35
• Langley Community Services Society
• Youth Unlimited
• Aboriginal Child and Youth Mental Health
• Township of Langley
• City of Langley
• The F.O.R.C.E. Society of Kids Mental Health
• Fraser Health Authority
• Focus Foundation – Whytecliff Learning Centre
• Langley RCMP