I was thrilled to hear that the Abbeyfield House has been gifted to The John Howard Society North Island (JHSNI) and is designated to become transitional housing for youth in the Comox Valley.
As a youth and family worker for the past 15 years as well as a foster parent for the past 18 years, I have witnessed the increasing need for housing for our most at-risk youth. The roster of foster parents willing to accept the challenges of providing care for youth has shrunk even as the need for them has grown. The presence of the new facility should lessen the pressure on the Ministry of Children and Family Development to provide placements for our homeless youth. I hope that those members of our community with the ability and heart for fostering our youth in their homes will still have the resolve to continue on that path.
The JHSNI has a strong track record in this community when it comes to supporting struggling youth and their families. It continues to be a presence in all of our Secondary Schools and on the frontlines of Outreach Support for our most vulnerable youth. The JHSNI has launched projects of transitional housing for youth in other communities on Vancouver Island with positive results.
Any community venture needs the co-operation and support of businesses, government, other non-profit organizations, and you, the citizen, to be successful. What could be a watershed project for supporting our youth will only work if we all work together.
The spinoff from this project’s success would mean not only safer and more integrated youth but also a safer and more caring community.