Back on the street

Street Ties Youth Outreach workers have taken to the streets of downtown Red Deer to maintain contact with clients since fire shut down the drop-in centre last Thursday.

Ken Clapson

Street Ties Youth Outreach workers have taken to the streets of downtown Red Deer to maintain contact with clients since fire shut down the drop-in centre last Thursday.

Street Ties, operated by Parkland Youth Homes, provides a place where high risk and homeless youth aged 12 to 21 can hang out and use a locker, do laundry, access a shower, computer, washroom, food and a non-judgmental adult.

“We could see anywhere from 20 to 30 youth in a day just during the five hours we were open so we know there is definitely a need,” said outreach worker Brittney Gross on Tuesday.

Her clients are now wandering around with no place to go until a new location is found.

“We were unique to Red Deer,” Gross said.

“We had a facility that offered them connections to community services.

“We had a great art program.

“And it was a safe and comfortable atmosphere where they weren’t judged, which I don’t think they get all the time.”

Next Tuesday, Street Ties will receive the Eva Initiatives Award For Innovation, presented by Eva’s and CIBC to organizations working with homeless and youth at risk.

As a non-profit, Street Ties operates on a limited budget so finding a new and affordable location in the downtown where it’s needed won’t be easy, she said.

Anyone with location options are asked to call Street Ties program manager Sandy Profeilo at 403-340-8995.

According to Red Deer Emergency Services, the fire at the building at 4712 51st Ave where Street Ties and the Red Deer Native Friendship Society were located appears to have been accidental and started on the second floor on the exterior patio.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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