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Media Release - MYS' Heritage Mansion Receives New Life as Emergency Shelter for Homeless Youth

NEWS RELEASE

For release April 22, 2014

Heritage Mansion Receives New Life as Emergency Shelter for Homeless Youth

Homeless youth and kids in crisis will benefit from the renovation of a Winnipeg heritage mansion into an eight bed emergency shelter.

Located at 159 Mayfair Avenue, the 7,000 square foot house was built in 1903 by railway and hotel magnate J.D. McArthur. Following an extensive $2.4 million renovation, it will now be home to the MYS Youth Resource Centre and Emergency Shelter, owned and operated by Macdonald Youth Services.

“Without a safe place to turn to, kids in crisis may spiral downwards,” says MYS Chief Executive Officer Erma Chapman. “This shelter and resource centre will provide kids aged 12 to 17 a safe place to go, someone to listen, and help in moving forward in their lives.”

The home is expected to provide a variety of support services to about 1600 youth each year. About 700 of them will require overnight shelter and will be provided short-term accommodation in one of the eight private bedrooms.   

The renovation was financed by government grants and more than $1.3 million of private contributions. Ongoing funding is provided primarily by the province of Manitoba.

"Our government is committed to ensuring that our investments to combat homelessness make a long-term difference for the most vulnerable members of our society, including our youth. Achieving our goals requires many partnerships and we congratulate Macdonald Youth Services on this grand opening,” said the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development).

“When youth find themselves on the streets they are extremely vulnerable and desperately need help,” said Kerri Irvin-Ross, Manitoba minister of Family Services. “That’s why it’s so important for us to support the work of Macdonald Youth Services, which offers shelter and guidance to support youth to achieve their goals.”

“Providing guidance, support and a place to feel safe and secure is what Macdonald Youth Services is known for,” said Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz. “The contribution through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy will assist MYS to continue to do the amazing work it does in the community helping at-risk youth.”

Like the old building it replaces, the new facility will be the only short-term, round-the-clock emergency shelter for homeless at-risk youth in the city of Winnipeg.

“Some youth simply have no safe place to stay and are at risk of being exploited,” says Chapman. “Our staff work with youth and their parents or guardian to resolve conflict and develop a long-term plan to keep kids safe and help them succeed.”

Macdonald Youth Services (MYS) is a not-for-profit agency with a long and respected history of helping Manitoba youth, families and communities. It serves more than 7,000 clients annually through six key programs, ranging from the emergency shelter and foster family care, to mobile crisis teams and a work and life skills program.

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See background information attached.

For further information:

Shari Loewen
Communications Specialist
Macdonald Youth Services
Phone: 204-949-4752
Cell: 204-391-3742
Email: shari.loewen@mys.mb.ca

BACKGROUND

The report says aboriginal people are over-represented among the homeless, and that an estimated 25 to 40 percent of homeless youth are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual or transgender.

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