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Human Resources, Labour and Employment
March 30, 2010

Support for a New Approach to Helping Vulnerable Youth

An innovative new approach to providing homeless and at-risk youth with the opportunities they need to develop life skills, build careers and live independently has received a major boost from the Provincial Government. The Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment, Minister Responsible for Youth Engagement, and lead minister for the Poverty Reduction Strategy, today announced $550,000 in operational funding for Choices for Youth�s new Lilly Building Facility.

"The funding announced today will allow Choices for Youth to provide a wide range of supports in a safe haven where resilient youth can discover their full potential," said Minister Sullivan. "This funding was made available through the Williams Government�s Supportive Living Community Partnership Program (SLCPP), which provides operating grants to community-based agencies so that they can deliver supportive living services. I�m pleased to note that the province doubled SLCPP funding in Budget 2010 to $2.4 million. I hope that by increasing this funding source we will see many more community-based organizations come forward with exciting new projects like the Lilly Building in the coming years."

Choices for Youth is a nonprofit, charitable, community-based agency that has been providing housing and lifestyle development supports to youth in the St. John�s metro area for 20 years. Its latest initiative, the Lilly Building project, involved converting a former warehouse space in downtown St. John�s into a modern complex with independent living accommodations for 14 youth, as well as programming space for literacy and employment services. While living in the Lilly Building, its 14 residents will be able to avail of counselling, educational support, job placement assistance, housing search support, mentorship opportunities, and a range of other services.

"Today we are seeing more and more youth with complex service needs who need consistent, ongoing, integrated supports in order to make healthy choices and sustain progress in their personal development," said Sheldon Pollett, Executive Director of Choices for Youth. "The Lilly Building provides a great solution to this growing challenge, and funding from the Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment was key to making it all possible. I appreciate the support of the Provincial Government, and I look forward to continued partnership that produces more forms of support for youth in the future."

The Supportive Living Community Partnership Program (SLCPP) that provided the operational funds for this project is an initiative of the Poverty Reduction Strategy, which was created to reduce, alleviate and prevent poverty throughout the province. The goal of the strategy is to make Newfoundland and Labrador the province with the lowest level of poverty in Canada within a 10-year period. $134 million was allocated in Budget 2010: The Right Investments � For Our Children and Our Future to assist with poverty reduction efforts.

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Media contacts:

Jennifer Collingwood
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
709-729-0753, 690-2498
Sheldon Pollett
Executive Director
Choices for Youth
709 754 3047

2010 03 30                                                       9:50 a.m.

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