The opening of the much-anticipated youth homeless shelter in Langley has been delayed until January 2018.
Problems with a change in service providers and increased demand for modular structures has led to the delay of the Langley Youth Resource Centre, said Encompass Support Services youth director Loren Roberts.
“Originally, our service provider was Britco, but they were bought out by a company in Lethbridge so they no longer could provide us with a shelter,” said Roberts.
“Shelter Modular, which is located just outside of Aldergrove, stepped up and wanted to help.”
But schools around B.C. have beefed up their demand for portables and modulars, which has put these service providers in high demand.
Shelter Industries will be able to bring the shelter to the site at 20285 62 Ave., but the centre won’t be ready for youth until January, said Roberts.
The new shelter will have five beds.
The original opening date was scheduled for July and then was pushed to this fall before being delayed once more.
“We’ve had to be creative in the past to help youth in need of shelter so we will continue to do that again this winter until our shelter opens,” he said.
“We’ve leaned on service partners from other communities before and we will have to do that again.”
That means youth in crisis will have to go to Surrey and Abbotsford if they need shelter.
“Last winter our safe ride program went very well. A teen could call us and we arranged a taxi to take them to the appropriate place,” Roberts said.
The centre will expand on services currently provided two days a week by the Langley Youth Hub.
These include: food, bus passes, showers, laundry, clothing, employment opportunities and access to housing.
There are more than 160 youth up to the age of 25 who are identified as homeless in the Langleys.
The centre is funded by a $355,000 contribution from BC Housing, with donated land from the Township of Langley, valued at $450,000.
Members of the Youth Homelessness Task Force also raised $18,000 that was donated to Encompass Support Services Society.
“There is a ton of couch surfing going on in Langley, which says a lot about this caring community who are willing to care for these kids.
“But … couch surfing isn’t a long-term solution,” said Roberts.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In the original article, the service provider for the new youth shelter was wrongly named Shelter Industries. The proper name of the company is Shelter Modular.