A Place Called Home Youth Emergency Fund ready to help at-risk youth

By Lindsay Advocate

A Place Called Home Youth Emergency Fund ready to help at-risk youth

A Place Called Home has announced the arrival of their new Youth Emergency Fund (YEF) program. APCH was chosen as the recipient of the United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes – Mona Hall – Telecare Legacy fund in March 2020 and received $5,000 to deliver the program. However due to the pandemic, program roll out was delayed.

These targeted funds will be used to provide emergency financial assistance to any youth residing in Kawartha Lakes between the ages of 16 – 18, during the critical period of time when they have left their parental home in crisis and who are actively applying for financial assistance through the Ontario Works program but have not yet been approved.

Jennifer Lopinski, youth trustee at APCH and administrator of the Youth Emergency Fund, says  the period of time “between when a youth has left their parental home in crisis and when a youth is granted Ontario Works benefits can vary greatly. It can take as long as two- three weeks before a youth is approved for Ontario Works and receives their first cheque.” 

Lopinski says youth are in a very vulnerable position during this time, “not knowing where their next meal will come from, or where they will be sleeping that night, and at what cost.” 

Emergency financial resources can include grocery cards, phone cards, short term emergency rent, transportation costs, and more. Poppa Ed’s Taxi is offering a special rate to eligible youth clients accessing the program, which will enable the YEF program to serve even more youth in crisis, ensuring they get to their emergency destination, safely.

Staff of the Trillium Lakelands District School Boardare often the first point of contact for youth in crisis in our community and they will be working closely with the youth in crisis and the APCH Youth Trustee program.

Sonya Vellenga, district manager of mental health services for TLDSB, says sometimes the board works with youth who can no longer live at home for many reasons. They may “find themselves living with friends or acquaintances on a temporary and transient basis,” she adds.

“At times, they are not connected to local services and require ‘bridge’ monies to help them with shelter or food while they work with someone at the school board to help them make linkages to Ontario Works” and/or community support, says Vellenga. 

The opportunity to access a flexible fund like the one offered by A Place Called Home through the Mona Hall grant is key, says Vellenga, to managing the bridging for the student until they are connected.

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