A $5,000 award couldn’t have come at a better time for Red Deer’s Street Ties Youth Outreach.
Eva’s Innovation Award was presented on Tuesday, only 13 days after fire ripped through the building at 4712 51st Ave., where Street Ties operated.
“It’s perfect timing,” said Robecca Chahine, executive director of Parkland Youth Homes Society which operates Street Ties.
The award, presented by Eva’s Initiatives of Toronto and CIBC, went to three innovative programs across Canada that work with homeless and at-risk youth.
Chahine said a search is still underway to find a new downtown home for Street Ties, which sees 1,500 to 2,000 youth per year.
Street Ties 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’ve looked at a few locations, but rent is much more expensive than we had been paying,” she said at the award presentation at Red Deer Public Library.
Chahine said any location will also require some work to put in laundry and shower facilities. She said no decision has been made on how the prize money will be spent.
Rachel Gray, director of national initiatives with Eva’s, which runs youth shelters in Toronto, said this is the first time in the four years since the award has been given out that it’s gone to an organization in a smaller community.