Last year, the 49th Street Youth Shelter assisted more homeless young people who had never used the service before.
Shelter manager Rose Hatfield said in 2018, the 12-bed shelter had 285 admissions made up of about 100 youth, of which 82 were first-time users.
“That’s a pretty high number for new kids. Historically, the higher percentage would be repeat users. Eighty-two first-time admissions, it shows that the need is there,” Hatfield said.
She said annual admissions run anywhere between 200 and 300 at the shelter, which is open 24 hours a day for youth 12 to 17 years old at Youth HQ, formerly called Red Deer Youth and Volunteer Centre.
Alberta’s troubled economy is as hard on youth as it is on adults, she said.
“They don’t have stability. They don’t have a job. They’re struggling to try and stay in school, but their priority is they need a safe place to be,” said Hatfield about the shelter.
The shelter, which also provides family outreach and supports, can be that safe place, she said.
Central Albertans who visit Red Deer Home Depot can donate $2 in-store or online until Dec. 22 to the 49th Street Youth Shelter through The Orange Door Project.
Youth HQ representatives will be at the store throughout the campaign to answer questions about the shelter and its initiatives.
Hatfield said in winter, it’s critical to have shelter spaces for youth, and Home Depot has provided phenomenal support through the Orange Door Project.
A few years ago, the shelter got a new roof, thanks to a Home Depot grant program.
“Home Depot has been such an awesome partner for the last several years.”
The Home Depot Canada Foundation is pledging to invest $50 million across Canada by 2022 through The Orange Door Project.