Instead, many of the residents at Trinity Place, across from the SHYFT house (Supportive Housing Youth Focus Team) in Yarmouth, say they just try to block out the noise from unruly youths.
SHYFT Youth Services provides housing and counselling support to at-risk and homeless youth in the tri-counties. It provides residential housing and outreach services to youth aged 16 to 24 on a 24/7 basis.
Seven of the 16 occupants in Trinity Place talked about their experiences recently.
Pauline Beals has resided at the complex for 20 years. She says there have been problems with their neighbours since SHYFT started.
“It’s worse the past year or two,” she said.
“I don’t like the language and the head banging. They fight. When they get upset, look out. Stay in your house and close your windows. Don’t listen to the language because you never heard such talk.”
Ron Nickerson says the RCMP respond to calls at the home an average of once a week, sometimes twice a week.
“They throw one in the back seat and the next day they’re back to get him again,” he said.
Kenneth Goodwin says one youth attacked a 95-year-old resident who lived near the home.
“It got so bad he had to put an alarm system in his house,” said Goodwin.
The Vanguard contacted Adam Dolliver, executive director of SHYFT Youth Services, who said that some of the issues mentioned were brought forward when they occurred and were immediately addressed. Click here for Dolliver's response.
Although SHYFT youths are subject to a curfew, the seniors say they’ve seen them outside at 1 and 2 a.m.
“They’re constantly there, constantly,” said Nickerson.
In one disturbing instance some of the residents witnessed what they say was one of the youths beating his girlfriend.
“They (staff) didn’t do anything about it,” said Rose Goodwin.
Youth are permitted to stay three months in the SHYFT home. If they are close to transitioning (to their own accommodations), an exception can sometimes be made.
The average length of stay is 35 days.
Residents say some of the youths stay for much longer than a few months, sometimes as long as a year.
They say youth that don’t stay at the home sometimes stop in to visit, do their laundry and to eat there. They attribute some of the fighting to these people.
“The issue, I think, mainly is there’s no control over them there. They can come and go as they please. They fight with each other and nobody interferes,” said Rose Goodwin.
They said some youths are living in tents next to SHYFT.
The seniors added that youths are “constantly” at their complex “bumming smokes” and that one youth stole tulip blooms from the property.
“He said he wanted them for his girlfriend who had cancer,” said Nickerson.
The seniors didn’t hesitate when asked what the solution to their problem was. Here’s what some of them had to say:
“Close it down.”
“It shouldn’t be here.”
“It should be out in the country.”
“They need to go to boot camp.”
“They need discipline.”
Said Rose Goodwin, “What I’m worried about is if one of them gets really mad they might go after a senior person. They will.”