The Welcome Hall Mission officially opened the doors to its brand new youth-services centre Monday morning. The resource relocated to Montreal North during the pandemic after noticing a desperate need for youth community services in the area where 30 per cent of it’s younger clientele lives.
“We started noticing that a lot of the young people asking for services in the downtown were from various boroughs around Montreal, particularly in the north end. So it just made sense to us that people should be able to access services closer to where they live,” said Welcome Hall Mission CEO Sam Watts.
The space is located on the second floor of the mission’s free grocery store. It includes a lounge area and workspaces, and offers clothes and a baby supplies for young mothers. The service aims to help youth experiencing adversity or homelessness get to where they want to be.
“This is going to be a resource that will allow us to connect them back to the people in the community that can help them out, like the health-care network,” said Watts.
Montreal North is a corner of the island that experiences high levels of poverty and school dropout. Borough mayor Christine Black says there is a pressing need for more services like Welcome Hall Mission in the area.
“I’m really happy this type of service is beginning in Montreal North because it will make a lot of difference here for youth and families,” said Black.
Svetlana Chernienko was 18-years-old when her family started using the Welcome Hall Mission’s grocery store and returned years later when she escaped an abusive relationship. The mental health advocate says the service influenced who she is today.
“It changed my life knowing I had support when I needed it. Any time that I went, there were always people there with loving open arms,” she told Global News.
Welcome Hall Mission hopes to build trust within the community through the youth-service centre, in order to help others on a path to success.