Every night, there are homeless and vulnerable youth on Fraser Valley streets. Most of them have run away from an abusive home, were abandoned by their parents, have no money and no safe place to go. Cyrus Centre provides homeless youth, 18 and under, with a temporary, safe place to stay while working toward a long-term solution. Open referrals, 7 days a week.
- When they arrive, youth are often scared, sick, hungry and tired. Our first priority is to meet their basic needs:
- Medical attention
- Something to eat
- A safe place to sleep
- A warm shower
- Clean clothing
There is no fee to stay at our shelters. All are welcome, provided they are not a danger to themselves or others.
When youth get settled in, a Youth & Family Worker will sit down with them, find out why they are here, how we can best assist and together develop a plan of care.
Our goal is to see families restored but that’s not always possible at least for the immediate so we help guide youth away from their immediate crisis and towards a safer and healthier environment. Youth may also be referred to our long-term supportive housing program, Babich House, which allows us to provide them with a continuum of care in an environment that feels like home.
Sometimes when youth aren’t ready to access services but the weather turns for the worst and they need a warm, dry place to be they will come inside Cyrus Centre where we will provide for their immediate safety. Cyrus Centre Provides a shelter and a warming centre for youth and young adults aged 12-24 during extreme weather;
- A safe place to sleep
- A warm shower
- Warm clothes
BABICH HOUSE in Abbotsford provides semi-independent housing for youth, aged 16 – 18, who require a supportive and nurturing living environment. House Parents focus on empowering and equipping youth with experience, knowledge, and relationships which encourage success. We believe that, with support, nurturing, respect, tolerance and love, each individual will be empowered and equipped to make positive and lasting changes.
Youth dedicated to exiting the streets and improving their lives, thrive when they can live, work and learn together. Cyrus Centre’s Babich House is extremely successful at helping youth rebuild their lives.
Often, youth who are referred to Babich House have the least amount of life skills and are not ready to live independently.
Without families to help them, they lack basic skills such as budgeting, cooking, cleaning and goal setting. Many have been through repetitive cycles where they try to leave the streets, but they get overwhelmed or taken advantage of, and end up back on the streets, more desperate than before.
When youth apply to move in, they know it isn’t a free ride. They also know that they need structure, guidance and time to practice new life skills and behaviours in a safe, supportive and loving home. They are invested in making the big changes that will keep them off the streets for good, and the staff at Cyrus Centre support them every step of the way.
In addition to guidance, structure and support, they receive:
- A private furnished room
- 24-hour support from Babich House
- Help learning to clean and take care of household chores
- Help with decision-making, money management, time management, communication skills and conflict resolution
- Support maintaining employment and/attending school
- Help sticking to schedules (reminders of appointments and assignments)
Many of our youth have lived with violence or the threat of violence for much of their young lives. Feeling safe is a right we all have but one these youth may not have enjoyed. Babich House is a safe place, it is “home”. Harassment, violence, discrimination, bullying, property damage, possessing weapons and the abuse and possession of alcohol and drugs are not permitted. We provide a safe, secure and healthy place to live and learn. It’s a place where youth can deal with the past and develop confidence to move forward.
*PROGRAM STARTING SEPTEMBER 2017
The Breakfast Club is a program for youth and young adults who are about to, or have recently aged out of adolescent supports and programs. The Breakfast Club 2 – 3 times a week. The program provides individuals aged 18-24 transitioning from adolescence to adulthood with continuous support and access to resources.
Many youth who have experienced homelessness or the risk of becoming homeless rely on social services throughout their adolescents to provide them with their basic needs. However, when these individuals turn 19 they no longer have access to these services and it is up to them to find new resources or find a way to be successful without the support of social services. This time of transition can be overwhelming, disruptive and even harmful to their progress and development. Many youth must leave foster or group homes they’ve been living in for many years and need to suddenly become financially, physically and emotionally capable of caring for themselves.
Many of these individuals experience a loss of community and support. They often feel scared and alone. If they continue to access social services they have to start working with people they have no previous relationship with and are asked to cut off relationships with social workers, youth workers, foster parents, etc., that they have spent years building trust with. The transition from adolescence and adulthood is met with many more responsibilities and pressures that these individuals had not previously had to deal with and many of them must face these challenges without the support of family, or the people they once considered family.
The purpose of The Breakfast Club is to offer young adults aged 18-24 the opportunity to build new relationships, networks and communities. The program will equip them with the essential skills and resources they need to be successful on their own and be contributing members of society. Youth who are 18 years old and still connect with youth services will be better equipped through the program to smoothly transition to adult services. The program will allow them to transition to adulthood without experiencing the shock and loss many youth feel when they are cut off from youth services. Adolescents over the age of 19 who have experienced the sense of loss and stumbled on their journey to adulthood will have the opportunity to come back to a familiar space, back to people they recognize and be connected on a regular basis to critical resources. In the program they will be able to redevelop a sense of community that they may have lost along the way.
The Breakfast Club aims to also rely on the expertise of other professionals in the community to build skills in financial literacy, accounting, employment, communication, education, healthy relationships, sexual, physical and mental health, tenancy expectations, housekeeping, and more. The program provides youth and young adults time to learn and build relationships and a network of support that is a critical component of their overall success. For individuals who are experiencing homeless or poverty, facilities are also available for them to access showers, laundry, and the Food Bank. Youth are made aware of various social services available to them at this stage of life and are supported through the process of filling out any necessary paper work and taught how to access these resources on their own.
If you would like more information about this program, either to participate or to offer support, please call our centre and speak with one of our dedicated youth workers.
Thank you to the Abbotsford Community Foundation’s Smart and Caring Community Grant for their financial support that allowed us to purchase a computer for this program.
Youth drop in for many reasons; some need a meal, some need to find a way home; others need help to fill out forms so they can get ID, financial support or a job. They all need a safe place to be, and experience love and acceptance.
At our Resource Centre, Youth Workers provide an array of “as-needed” services to youth.
Youth who have been out of the home, or on the streets for a long time are often resistant to accessing structured support programs, or even to use our Resource Centre at all. It takes a big first step for them to come inside. Quite often, coming in for a meal is the first step for youth to exit the streets. The Resource Centre is where they can check things out and see if they feel safe coming to us for help.
We build trust by responding to one basic need at a time, as asked. We take a “Let’s see what we can do” approach rather than saying, “We don’t do that here.” Whatever their reason for coming in, at Cyrus Centre, youth will always find compassion, acceptance, love and support.
At the Resource Centre, youth can get:
- Access to a Youth Worker for support and personal planning
- Referrals to other social services and community supports
- Employment assistance and referrals to job centres and training programs
- Help returning to home community
- Mediation and family reunification
- Access to clothing
- Assistance with housing search
- Use of our telephone and mailing address
- Help navigating the court system
- Life skills training
- Connection to mental health and addictions support services