Media Release - MYS' Heritage Mansion Receives New Life as Emergency Shelter for Homeless Youth
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.
See background information attached.
For further information:
Macdonald Youth Services
- Macdonald Youth Services was founded in 1929 in honour of Sir Hugh John Macdonald—a police magistrate, former premier of Manitoba and son of Canada’s first prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald—who advocated for disadvantaged youth and set an example by providing shelter and guidance to those in need.
- The organization receives both private donations and public funding and is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. MYS employs approximately 740 professionals who deliver a wide range of assessment, treatment and family support services. The organization provides services in Winnipeg and surrounding communities, Thompson and The Pas.
- In 2013/14, MYS served approximately 7,000 youth throughout Manitoba. Its Youth Resource Centre and Emergency Shelter is expected to provide a variety of support services to about 1600 youth each year. About 700 of them will require overnight shelter.
- In The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013 report, it is estimated that about 30,000 Canadians are homeless every night, and about 200,000 are homeless in any given year. It estimates that about 20 percent of the homeless population using shelters are between the ages of 16 and 25, and a further one percent are under 16.
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.
- The home at 159 Mayfair Avenue was built in 1903 by businessman John Duncan (J.D.) McArthur and his wife Mary. J.D. McArthur built railway lines across the prairies, as well as hotels, commercial buildings and the Pinawa dam. J.D. died in 1927 and his wife Mary remained in the home until she passed away; MYS purchased the home from Mary’s estate in 1954. Since then, it has been used to offer programming to Manitoba youth.
- The renovation was assisted by more than $1.3 million in private contributions, with lead donations ($100,000 or more) from the following:
- Jessiman Foundation and Bison Transport
- Richardson Foundation
- North West Company and Edward Kennedy
- Tallman Foundation