PROGRAM: EXIT YOUTH SHELTER
Eric stumbled into the EXIT Youth Shelter at 3 a.m. one cold fall morning, highly agitated and bleeding from his leg. He was living on the street and had been stabbed by another homeless youth. He didn’t know where else to turn. Eric had been staying at the Lethbridge Youth Shelter oﬀ and on since he was 15. His mother suﬀered from chronic depression and his father drank heavily.
Now, barely 18, Eric is too old for the youth shelter. On the outside, he acts bold and conﬁdent, but in truth, the thought of staying at the adult shelter terriﬁes him. He still feels like a kid. Still, he can’t face going home and feels he has no place to go but the street.
“We have seen an increased demand for crisis counselling,” says Shauna Cohen, Program Supervisor. “But between the Youth Shelter and programs like our Housing First initiative, we are helping homeless youth, and those at risk of homelessness, get a fresh start on life.”
Eric is now looking for permanent housing with the support from ‘Housing First’. We are proud that he started to take steps, like many of the youth who come to our shelter, that will lead to good things: Safety, meaningful employment, a sense of purpose and a sense of calm.