Youth shelter unveils expansion, improvements

Expansion of a local shelter hopes will help make it feel more like a home for the people who are in need of its services.

Expansion of a local shelter hopes will help make it feel more like a home for the people who are in need of its services.

The 49th Street Youth Shelter finished significant renovations and expansions to improve what it offers to young people in need between the ages of 12 and 17.

Last Friday, they held a celebration of the completed work, opening their doors so people could see what had happened.

David Murphy, Red Deer Youth and Volunteer Centre executive director, said Telus led the community fundraising campaign and then they went to True-Line Contracting Ltd. with the funds to do a kitchen renovation, washroom upgrade and an expansion.

Before the renovation, the kitchen was always full of people, with very little room and a 12-foot plastic table that had to be folded up regularly.

“Now having it so much bigger, it allows us to do more,” said Murphy.

“The kids can actually sit in there, do homework, talk to each other. We have a TV in there now, staff can talk with them, we can teach the kids how to cook.”

The kitchen renovation also upgraded appliances.

“It’s nice, the kitchen is really the heart of the home,” said Murphy.

“We try to create a home environment for the kids and having a larger kitchen allows us to do that.”

The washroom expansion increased the size to improve the accessibility. Murphy said they were handicap accessible before but it was a tight fit.

The kitchen expansion took out one bedroom in the shelter.

But the expansion, which included the washroom, also allowed them to add two rooms to the facility. Murphy said they could have 10 youth at the shelter, but for now they are set up for eight.

The eight-bed facility houses youth in varying programs.

It aims to assist those who do not have an appropriate place to stay or who may require additional supports. It operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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