Street Youth Job Corps gets $1.1 million grant: Toronto, Canada

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sat, 27 Mar 1999 23:15:48 -0800 (PST)


FWD  Toronto Star - March 27, 1999

     STREET YOUTH PROGRAN GETS $1.1 MILLION GRANT

     Ottawa committed to helping job search,  minister promises

     By Sara Jean Green - Toronto Star Staff Reporter

 A Toronto program designed to help street youths find jobs will get a $1.1
million boost from the federal government, says Claudette Bradshaw,
Canada's new minister responsible for the homeless.

 ``I'm not the kind of person who just comes to hand over a big cheque,''
Bradshaw said yesterday, addressing a group of participants in the Toronto
Youth Job Corps program at St. Christopher House on Queen St. W. ``We will
be there for you in the long run. This isn't just a quick fix.''

 The two Job Corps sites - St. Christopher's, where the program has been
running for 16 years, and the Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre -
will get more than $700,000 to maintain their pre-employment training,
counselling, job placement and support services geared toward homeless and
marginalized youth. The rest of the money will be used to set up a new Job
Corps program in the Jane St.-Finch Ave. area.

 Bradshaw, who is also the labour minister, announced the grant before
attending the final day of a two-day national symposium on homelessness
being held in Toronto.

 The specific needs of young people were addressed yesterday in a workshop
as part of the symposium.

 Sustained funding, instead of short-term pilot projects, is needed to get
street youths into stable homes and back to school, front-line community
workers said at the workshop.

 ``Government funding is often short-lived and tied to the theme of the
day. But when the funding dries up, the kids are left in the lurch,'' said
Maria Crawford of Eva's Place, a Toronto agency that provides housing and
employment opportunities for homeless youth.

 The story of limited funding and inadequate resources is the same in
dozens of Canadian cities, said Claudette Godley of Montreal's
L'Arrêt-Source, a shelter for young women, many of them former drug
addicts and prostitutes.

 ``I've never seen such distress in young people as at this time. Over the
last 10 years, young people have become more broken and less skilled'' as
more are forced to sleep on park benches and hostel cots, she said.

 Godley told workshop participants that out of Montreal's 28,000 homeless,
8,000 are youths, but the city has only four social workers available to
help them.

 Listening to Bradshaw's speech at St. Christopher's was a 20-year-old
woman, who asked that her name not be used. She said she escaped an abusive
home when she was 14, became a drug addict and lived on the streets.

 For the past eight months, she's been living at Ingles House, a shelter
for women with addiction problems. As a graduate of the Toronto Youth Job
Corps program, she's getting her life together and has a job at a downtown
bookstore.

 ``I have a future and I'm really excited about it.''

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