Sutton Youth Shelter
It has been five years since the Salvation Army Sutton Youth Shelter opened its doors to serve homeless youth of York Region.
In some senses the time has passed quickly. Although when we consider the number of faces we have seen as they have passed through our doors, the number of telephone calls that have been made to various support services on behalf of each face and the number of conversations that have taken place over each crisis, fear or opportunity that accompanies any change in life, one doesn’t wonder where the time has gone.
We have seen young people grow some measure toward independent adulthood in their stays with us. We have helped young people find places to live, rekindle broken family relationships, seek out specific help, find work, find school and find faith.
All told, more than 1,000 new faces have slept in our 16 emergency shelter beds and eaten the meals that have been provided for them. Their physical needs have been met. Yet with needs greater than the physical, these young men and women have been cared for. They have been loved.
Of all the stereotypes or negative stigma attached to being a homeless young person in need of service, there is only one generalization that we would endorse.
Every new person we’ve seen here at some point has not been loved as much as they should have been. This may not seem like any great concession. It’s not. In fact, this is probably every one of us, at least at some point in our lives and herein lie’s the point.
There is a fine line between being homeless and being housed. That’s 1,000 different people with 1,000 different life stories. Most of these young men and women have, on paper, benefited from the services we provide here at the Salvation Army Sutton Youth Shelter. All of these people are better off for having been cared for with the provision of love and dignity.