TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Carmen Perret-Smith stands inside one of the suites at the new Youth For Christ U-Turn housing complex on Fifth Street in downtown Brandon.
A Westman Youth for Christ affordable housing project more than a year in the making has officially opened its doors.
Eighteen-year-old Tyrrel Kline sits on his bed inside his suite at the new Youth For Christ U-Turn housing complex on 5th Street in downtown Brandon. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Tyrrel Kline, 18, is one of four youth who have already started settling in to the new two-storey eight-plex and so far he’s enjoying the space.
"Now that I’m 18 I can go out on my own," Kline said while looking around his new home on Thursday afternoon. "I’m just living every day ... trying to figure out a plan."
Kline said he plans to find a job and working alongside YFC support workers has been helpful during this transition.
"I really like it," he said. "They’re a good bunch of people to call friends. They got me into a group that I enjoy hanging out with and it’s good."
The organization’s newest housing complex at 139 Fifth St. can house eight youth aged 19 and older who are either self-enrolled in a support program, wanting to go or already attending school or actively seeking employment.
"It’s transition time so we’re slowly moving people in," said Westman YFC director Dwayne Dyck, adding the new building provides much-needed affordable housing for youth in Brandon. "It’s good to finally have it happening."
This is the organization’s fourth building, but third
U-Turn temporary housing complex since two of the other complexes are joined together along Rosser Avenue.
The two-storey building, funded by all three levels of government, YFC supporters and local businesses, has eight independent apartments equipped with kitchen, sleeping and bathroom areas ranging in size from 270 to 300 square feet. Each suite has a separate entrance and there’s an outdoor deck for socializing. YFC is also partnering with other local agencies to provide transitional supports, including the Brandon Friendship Centre, to meet some of the housing needs.
With four of the suites already filled and another four tenants soon to be chosen from a long waiting list, plans are already in place for another YFC building in the future, Dyck said.
"These places are always full because we see the need and are trying to build into that," he said. "That need will always be there in Brandon and YFC can help."
YFC’s U-Turn housing complexes provide homes for those aged 15 to 25, who have nowhere else to turn, for a maximum of three years. The affordable housing program combines personal development plans and goal setting with counselling and job training while occupants pay rent and live in a stable environment.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 8, 2014