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Youth Haven rebuild looking at 2-month turnaround post-demolition

'Knowing this is happening, that this is a reality ... it’s like we won the lottery right now,' says executive director
Rendering of what Barrie Youth Haven is expected to look like on Wellington Street.

Youth Haven will spring forth anew as Barrie’s weather warms.

Its premises on Wellington Street in Barrie will be both demolished and rebuilt during a two-month period, beginning next month.

Lucy Gowers, Youth Haven’s executive director, said a new facility is just what’s needed for the local organization.

“We’ve always said that we needed a new shelter, we’ve always said that we wanted to support more youth in need,” she said, “and unfortunately with the way the shelter is currently, there is no way that we could do everything that we want to do.”

Youth Haven provides vital services that assist youth, ages 16 to 24, who are homeless or at-risk of being homeless in Barrie and the surrounding area. It meets the immediate needs of local youth, to provide them with shelter, food and care packages.

More than 600 youth in the region rely on support the organization provides.

Youth Haven operates a 19-bed emergency shelter and provides transitional housing at a separate location, along with outreach services.

When the Wellington Street shelter is demolished this spring, it will be replaced with a new facility which will house approximately 30 youth.

In the new facility, the upstairs will have 14 bedrooms, housing two youths in each, along with bathrooms and a sitting area.

On the main floor, there will be counselling rooms, meeting space, the main kitchen, a reception area, a doctor's and dentist's office, along with two single rooms for youth with mobility issues, with a ramp leading up to the main entrance.

The lower level will have laundry, storage and a single bedroom.

Gowers said the three single rooms — two on the main floor, one in the basement — are particularly important.

“We can use those as crisis beds, we can use them for any of our youths who have mobility issues,” she said. “We want to make sure we’re providing services and supports to everyone in need.”

And Gowers said there is great excitement and energy at Youth Haven about the new premises.

“Knowing this is happening, that this is a reality, we want to make sure that we have everything we need so that we can make this a successful venture for all of us,” she said. “It’s like we won the lottery right now.”

In late February, Youth Haven’s Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser attracted more than 300 people, who walked downtown Barrie, and raised more than $76,000.

The New Haven for Youth Haven campaign had raised just more than $500,000 of its $2-million goal.

The Kiwanis Club of Barrie has donated $100,000 to the campaign, and another $10,000 is coming from the Kiwanis Foundation of Canada.

There will also be in-kind gifts from the Simcoe County Home Builders’ Association, which is building the new facility.

To donate to Youth Haven, visit: