D.J. Pike, youth centre co-ordinator with the Community Youth Network, has seen it too many times and heard of countless other stories. Friday, he expected to do something about it.
Pike planned to spend Friday night in a snow hut he built on Pier Road near downtown Corner Brook. His sacrifice is a symbolic gesture to raise awareness of the homelessness problem that exists in the city.
“I am looking to grab some attention and let people know there is an issue with, particularly, youth homelessness in Corner Brook,” he said. “It’s not typically heard of, but there is a lot of couch surfing and things like this that does go on. There is a need for a shelter.”
The Community Youth Network has a small emergency housing fund to provide a hotel room for people from time to time. In partnership with the Humber Community YMCA, the Community Mental Health Initiative, and the West Rock Community Centre, the Community Youth Network is working to establish a homeless shelter for men in Corner Brook.
“I think it is greatly needed,” he said. “It would avoid that problem of youth stuck in the situation where they have to try to be put up in hotels for a few nights and then having to jump from friend to friend. They would be able to stay for a significant amount of time in this shelter, until they are able to arrange permanent housing.”
Pike says there is a lack of affordable housing in the area, but also not enough job opportunities for young people to be able to afford the accommodations that are available.
The Community Youth Network is hosting a pancake breakfast Tuesday at St. John the Evangelist Church on Main Street from 7-11 a.m. The network is also selling toques to raise awareness and funds for the cause.