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Province Provides New Support for At-risk Youth in Yarmouth Area

Vulnerable young men and women in Yarmouth, Shelburne and Digby counties will continue to have a safe place to go with $350,000 in new annual provincial funding for the Supportive Housing Youth Focus Team (SHYFT).

“People in this area saw at-risk and homeless young people struggling and stepped up to find a solution,” said Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard. “The last four years, they have worked hard to raise enough money to keep the doors open and make supports available.

“This long-term funding commitment will make sure their energy is where it belongs, helping young people in need and not worrying about keeping the doors open.”

Supportive Housing Youth Focus Team is a community-based 24/7 housing support service for at-risk and homeless age 16 to 24. It has operated without sustainable long-term funding since it opened in 2011.

“We are so pleased that our plea has been heard and the strain of meeting this service need has been lifted,” said Bernadette MacDonald, chair SHYFT Youth Services Society. “Being able to operationalize SHYFT Youth Services will help to ensure that at-risk and homeless youth have a safe and supportive housing option.”

SHYFT provides transitional and emergency housing or outreach services. It has helped more than 200 young people and the average stay is three months.

“SHYFT has given me strength and has taught me to care more about life,” said Nicole Sanford, 22. “When I first went to SHYFT, my life was low. I was dealing with a lot of issues like drugs and alcohol, homelessness and a lot of anger.

“Now I am more positive, caring, drug free, have a home and I am actually doing things in my community.”

The $350,000 annual funding commitment will be included in the province’s 2014-15 budget.

“SHYFT has stayed open because of the hard work and dedication of the many staff, volunteers and community members in the area,” said Ms. Bernard. “Today’s commitment recognizes and supports that dedication to help young people in need.”

Source: Release

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