Fresh Start secures funding to support homeless youth in Swift Current

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Fresh Start Board members (L to R) Jim Appleyard, Pat Olson, and Jerry Reimer join with Fresh Start Executive Director Sally Wiens in announcing the opening of JP's Place to address the issue of youth homelessness.

Local Swift Current youth in need of safe, secure housing will now benefit from a new home, thanks to financial support from both Provincial and Federal levels of Government, as well as private donors.

Over the past few years, Fresh Start has worked alongside the Swift Current community and the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (Gov’t of Canada) in an effort to address the growing issue of youth homelessness in southwest Saskatchewan.

“This is a great opportunity for our community to help youth break free from the cycle of homelessness and poverty. We are so excited to offer all the merits of a strong, safe and stable home. Youth now have access to long term, supported housing, which will help them establish a strong base that leads to independence,” said Sally Wiens, Executive Director of Fresh Start.

Fresh Start has purchased a 1700 square foot, five bedroom home in Swift Current that will provide long term housing for four youth between the ages of 15-17. The name of the home is JP’s Place, an acronym using the first name initials of Board Members that worked on this initiative.

“Housing is a great addition to the continuum of services we already provide to struggling youth” noted Wiens. “Youth have access to paid employment opportunity, education services, life skills coaching, and mentorship. As well, Our Daily Bread soup kitchen provides hot, wholesome, nutritious meals to youth, and the community at large.”

“JP’s Place is the first home of its kind targeting youth in our City. While this is a great step toward helping our City’s most vulnerable, there is still work to be done. The recent “Five Days for Change” profiled homeless youth in our City, and JP’s Place is just one phase of the bigger picture in the emerging risk of homelessness here in our community. Currently, Southwest Street Culture is working on developing an Emergency Shelter, for youth requiring short term services for youth. The Salvation Army currently provides emergency beds for those in need while St. Olaf’s Lutheran Church is currently working on a transition home.”

JP’s Place will operate with a full complement of staff, providing services around the clock, and will commence with service delivery on April 1, 2014.

“While Fresh Start is very excited about the purchase of the youth home, we are also very excited about our new location,” added Wiens.

Fresh Start has operated out of The Center for the past three years, however, they have recently purchased their own facility at 214 – 1st Avenue North East (formerly 1st Avenue Flowers) which will become their new location effective Dec. 1. All programming, including Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, will be delivered from this location.

For more information on Fresh Start, visit www.freshstartsc.ca.

Organizations: Fresh Start

Geographic location: Swift Current, Canada, Saskatchewan

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