Langley youth shelter won’t open this month

Luckily, there is less need for beds in last six months, said Encompass Support Services

The siding has gone up and drywall work is underway, but the much-anticipated youth homeless shelter in Langley will not be open this month as hoped.

Lorne Roberts, director of operations at Encompass Support Services Society, said they are now hopeful to be open in late February.

“The structure comes as a frame, but then you have to put in everything, and get things connected like the plumbing. It’s the small details that are holding us up,” said Roberts.

“We are hopeful to start moving furniture in by Jan. 23 and then have programs running by the middle to end of February. We’re excited.”

It was last February when the provincial government announced that a youth shelter would be coming to Langley, run by Encompass, which supports and helps youth at risk. At the time it was expected to be open in July. Then the date was moved to January.

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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.

Encompass has identified as many as 160 youth in Langley who were homeless at one time or another within a calendar year. The closest communities with youth shelters are in Abbotsford and Surrey, where Roberts said Encompass has a working partnership.

But the need for shelter among youth in Langley has dropped in the past six months, said Roberts.

“Luckily, we haven’t had a lot of need. We are still busy and with the new year, things pick up for us,” he said.

“A lot of time the last straw in homes is when kids refuse to go back to school. And as well, the holidays can be stressful in the home.”

The new shelter, at 20285 62 Ave., will have five beds and will offer services that include counselling and health programs.

Programs and services are currently running at the Youth Hub in Langley City.

“It’s busy, but it’s good to be busy because that means we are helping,” said Roberts.

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