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Starling Community Services.

Helpless and homeless until… “Life Launch gave me a chance”

girl at Safe Haven

It’s hard to imagine but we see this at our youth shelter all too often: 16-18 year olds forced to live on their own. They want to be successful in life, but have to face adult challenges that they are not equipped to handle.

Sometimes they get evicted from an apartment, sometimes they get kicked out of their family home, and sometimes they leave because it is just not safe to stay. All too often they end up homeless and adrift. Financial worries, relationship issues, legal troubles, mental health struggles can all become factors. They lack the family support that helps a youth learn how to cope, problem-solve and launch into adulthood successfully.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Life Launch is a new program developed by Safe Haven Youth Services staff at 41 Weber Street West in Kitchener. Carefully selected youth live semi-independently in their own small apartment for up to one year.

Lutherwood staff teach them basic life skills, connect them to community resources, offer financial literacy training, and help them find stable housing. Each youth must be at school or employed, motivated towards becoming self-sufficient, and committed to making it work.

Once they leave and move into their own home, they receive regular check-ins and support to help them stay on track.

Our goal is to end chronic homelessness in youth and we can know that:

  • this program will lower health, justice and social service demands and system costs,
  • a short-term, intensive investment in these young people will ease their long-term suffering, and
  • our community will be better when youth don’t live on the street.

These things are important. But at the end of the day, we are doing this because no youth should face the world alone.

With your help, this is a problem we can solve. You can donate in support of youth like Kim by sending your donation tagged “Life Launch” to Lutherwood today. Thank you!

"I was different and bullied at school. When I came to Lutherwood, I didn’t want to stay. But I learned skills to help me manage situations and my emotions. When it was time to go home, I didn’t want to leave."