January 29, 2016 5:29 pm
Updated: January 29, 2016 6:35 pm

Saint John youth homeless shelter Safe Harbour closes its doors

WATCH ABOVE: Safe Harbour, Saint John’s shelter for homeless youth, has closed less than a year after opening. As Global’s Andrew Cromwell reports, it’s hoped the closure will be short lived.

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All was quiet at the Safe Harbour emergency and transitional housing facility for youth, but after the grand opening last March, the board of directors made the tough decision to close because of a lack of funding.

The facility close it’s doors on Friday.

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READ MORE: Safe Harbour youth facility in Saint John prepares to shut down

A lien had been placed on the facility and a loan guarantee of $440,000 was unable to be obtained from the province.

There were 10 residents at the time, only one was not prepared to accept his housing accommodations.

“So I think (that) speaks volumes, because some of the the services that are available in the community are not the services that are going to fit the needs of every youth,” said Safe Harbour Board member Kit Hickey

Ironically, Premier Brian Gallant was in Saint John today addressing a summit on youth opportunities but was not willing to field questions on the issue as he arrived.

 

Support for the facility is emerging from the medical sector.

Dr. Keith Brunt, is with Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick at U.N.B.S.J., says Safe Harbour is a leading example of stopping youth marginalization.

“It keeps youth from going into a cycle that leads to their long term detriment in health and overall well being,” Brunt said.

“It prevents youths from becoming addicted, having mental health issues and many other social determinants of disease.”

READ MORE: Safe Harbour, facility for homeless youth, closing after less than a year

Kit Hickey points out 80 per cent of youth at Safe Harbour either remained in, returned to or completed high school during their stay. She says the commitment to re-open hasn’t waned.

“We trust the closure will be temporary and it will be a very short time period,” she said.

Another organization has come forth and offered a loan guarantee pending a secure operating budget and the province is being asked to help.

“The request to them has been for 50 per cent of the funding of the operating budget which is approximately 425 thousand dollars,” Hickey said.

In a statement, Saint John area MLA Rick Doucet says Social Development Minister Cathy Rogers has promised to work with the board about a more stable financially viable program model.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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