Brookswood Secondary Grade 11 student Elliot Cluney

Push is on for Langley youth homeless shelter

Student-led forum calls for action on growing problem in community

If the huge turnout is any indication, the collective voice of a group of Langley teens has brought the plight of youth homelessness into the spotlight.

More than 120 people attended a forum on youth homelessness  — organized and led by students — that took place at the Langley School Board office on Wednesday afternoon.

Dozens of teens showed up as well as members of Langley City and Township councils, school district administrators and trustees, Langley’s outreach workers, a youth shelter worker from Surrey, concerned Langley citizens and teachers and parents.

Students from R.E. Mountain, Aldergrove Secondary, Brookswood and Vanguard formed the task force into youth homelessness.

In their research they discovered there are up to 200 teens in Langley who didn’t have a home to go to at various times in their lives last year.

What the group found upsetting and has moved them to action is that Langley doesn’t have an emergency shelter for youth. The Gateway of Hope can only take people who are 19 years and older.

If teenagers find themselves in crisis with nowhere to go, the nearest shelters are in Surrey  and Abbotsford.

But if they identify Langley as their home and this is where their school is, it becomes an another obstacle to overcome, said the group.

Students led the conversations at each table, with topics ranging from whose responsibility is youth homelessness to what are the future impacts of youth who are homeless.

“Before you break into groups I want you to think of this — what is home?” asked Brookswood Secondary Grade 11 student Elliot Cluney of the large crowd gathered around several tables.

“Home is somewhere you can be yourself and somewhere you should be safe.”

In 2015, there were an estimated 160 Langley teens who didn’t have a safe home or have found themselves unable to go home for various reasons.

The student organizers told the crowd that their next step would be to present their case to Township council at its April 11 meeting.

A meeting with Langley City has not yet been scheduled.

They also planned to line Langley Bypass with 162 students in May, to illustrate how many Langley youth have found themselves looking for safe places to lay their head.

Just Posted

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

VIDEO: Remember the Voyageurs at Fort Langley

Two-day historical festival underway

Fraser Health asking taxpayers for millions more in health care capital funding

Health authority wants Fraser Valley taxpayers to triple annual contribution to $5.75 million

Guilty plea issued in case where man, 86, was assaulted and robbed

Hughie Stump pleads guilty to break-and-enter in relation to Abbotsford incident

UPDATE: 24-year-old Lovepreet Dhaliwal ID’d as victim in targeted Abbotsford shooting

Location of shooting the same as where innocent bystander Ping Shun Ao killed in 2015

Mom delivers plastic mats to Langley’s homeless

Jenifer Kosman fashions sleeping mats from plastic grocery bags

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Snow warning in effect for the Coquihalla

A snowfall warning is in effect from Hope to Merritt as slush and snow is expected on highways this weekend

Vancouver hoping free public Wi-Fi expansion will drive tourism dollars

Mayor Gregor Robertson says expansion bolsters its “leading Smart City” status

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

Most Read