CAYU Executive Director Jerel Peters, City of Lacombe Deputy Mayor Thalia Hibbs, CAYU Housing Director Penny Ure and City of Lacombe Affordable Housing Committee Chair Outi Kite are participating in a ribbon-cutting at the new housing project. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)

CAYU Executive Director Jerel Peters, City of Lacombe Deputy Mayor Thalia Hibbs, CAYU Housing Director Penny Ure and City of Lacombe Affordable Housing Committee Chair Outi Kite are participating in a ribbon-cutting at the new housing project. (Alannah Page/Lacombe Express)

Yu-Turn affordable youth housing project opens in Lacombe

The home will house three young women at a time along with two volunteer mentors.

The Central Alberta Youth Unlimited (CAYU) unveiled a new affordable housing project that will help at-risk youth in Lacombe. The project, called Yu-Turn, will be able to house up to three young women and two mentors at a time.

The program involves giving youth shelter, support and the skills they need to be successful community contributors. This includes giving each participant a personalized development plan that will see them set and reach their goals.

The mentors are a volunteer position, and they move into the home to serve as a guide for living a productive lifestyle. The mentors have jobs and responsibilities that they attend to all while living and participating in programs with the youth.

This new housing program is for young women ages 16-24 who may be experiencing homelessness, battling drug addiction, struggling to complete school or maintain employment or want to become more independent.

Penny Ure, the Housing Director for CAYU, said that the program accepts people who are committed to growth and positive change.

“This will offer many youths some hope and be able to provide them with future life skills,” said Ure.

CAYU also operates a boy’s home in Lacombe that has space for two youth and two mentors. In her speech, Ure talked about the success of one of the male youths from the home who was able to accomplish goals like finding employment and obtaining his driver’s license.

“Our house mentors and youth workers spoke truth to him and reminded him he is worthy of a good life,” said Ure.

The project was made possible with help from the City of Lacombe and the Affordable Housing Committee. The city donated around $80,000 to go towards the down payment of the home. The money came from both city and provincial funds.

CAYU raised $300,000 to go towards the purchase of the $400,000 home. They are currently trying to raise the remaining $20,000.

Outi Kite is the Chair for the Affordable Housing Committee and was part of the team that recommended the Yu-Turn project to the city council.

Kite said the home is needed in the city and is thankful the city accepted the committee’s recommendation.

“I love what was said earlier about this home being a place of hope and wholeness and I believe that’s what it will offer today,” said Kite.

Living expenses for those in the program vary depending on each person’s situation. Some people are able to pay for their own room and board through grants or wages but those who can’t will receive support from CAYU.

According to Ure, youth enrolled in the program typically stay for a year in the house but can stay as long as they need.

Youth who are interested in applying can do so by filling out the form online or by getting in contact with a homeless shelter or social worker.

CAYU is also seeking donations from the community that will go towards covering living expenses and operating costs for the home. Those who are interested in donating can get in contact with Penny.