April 24th, 2019

Orange Door Project aids homeless youth


By Michalezki, Amanda on December 3, 2018.

Amanda Michalezki

Lethbridge Herald

amichalezki@lethbridgeherald.com

Home Depot and Wood’s Homes have partnered for the second year with The Orange Door Project to help provide support to homeless and at-risk youth in Lethbridge.

Wood’s Homes received a $50,000 grant last year from the project through the Canada Home Depot Foundation. The grant helped with renovations on the building and provided more safety and security for youth. Lethbridge and area helped raise more than $12,000 for Wood’s Homes last year with the project.

The financial contributions helps youth to better access the facility by giving Wood’s Homes the ability to have additional specially trained staff, and extended hours.

Wood’s Homes project manager Jeff Hansen said from April to October they had 49 youth stay in the shelter.

“There’s lots of research done that if people are housed, they’re a lot more happier,” said Hansen. “As long as you keep people fed, they have a roof over their head and a bed to sleep in, they do so much better in life.”

A survey by the foundation noted homeless youth make up roughly 20 per cent of the homeless population in Canada.

The initiative with Home Depot has been crucial for Wood’s Homes in getting youth back on their feet, and to get word out about the resources available at Wood’s Homes.

“I think if we can start when these kids are younger, and not get them entrenched into street life, we’ve got a fighting chance to make these kids successful, and it starts with companies like Home Depot doing what they’re doing,” said Hansen.

Home Depot sees the long-term benefits of the project, said Janna McNeil, store manager of Home Depot and captain of the foundation for her district which includes parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“We’ve had people visit the store that have been on the street. They’ve come in and personally thanked us for the contribution, the cause that we’re supporting, and how it’s supported them to move on to different things in their lives,” said McNeil.

The foundation is committed to helping put an end to youth homelessness in Canada.

The primary focus of the foundation is to support initiatives like the project by providing access to safe, stable and affordable housing for homeless youth.

Wood’s Homes is an eight-bed facility that provides youth under age 18 with food, shelter, laundry and shower facilities. The resource centre still offers services to people up to age 24, as their motto is to never turn away someone in need.

Staff at Wood’s Homes also provides support with finding employment that leads youth to independent living.

From now until Dec. 16, customers can donate $2 at store checkouts and receive a paper door to write their name or business on to show their support for the project.

Visit http://www.orangedoorproject.ca for more information.

Follow @AmandaMicHerald on Twitter

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