L'Association des jeunes de la rue

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L'Association des jeunes de la rue was incorporated in 1992. At the time homelessness was no longer a social issue limited to the adult male population. Teenagers were being affected and also faced numerous social problems forcing them to live on the streets. Unfortunately, teenagers between the ages of 16 and 17 years of age were slipping through the social nets which were designed to protect them. Being too old, these individuals could not receive assistance from the Children's Aid Society and they could not qualify for Social Assistance because they were too young. Since they were considered too old to be children and too young to be adults, the only option for many of them was to leave home and attempt to survive the hardships of living on the streets.

 [Photo of two homeless youth]

A group of concerned Sudbury citizens set out to change the fate of some of these individuals. They managed to provide shelter, food, clothing and counselling for those they could identify.

As with most new social programs, the first year in operation was very difficult. There was barely enough money to pay the rent for the small three-bedroom bungalow that later became Foyer Notre Dame House. All services depended on the generous food and monetary donations received from individuals and agencies. Initially, the shelter was operated by a large pool of volunteers that strongly believed in the mandate set out by the Board of Directors. Within the first year of operation, over 50 young boys and girls received some form of assistance. Unfortunately in 1994, without a stable source of funding, Foyer Notre Dame House was forced to close its doors for a period of approximately one year.

However, with the perseverance of the Board of Directors and a generous loan from a religious community, the Grey Nuns, a large house that could accommodate up to 11 residents was purchased in 1995 and the project was re-launched. Employees were hired on a full-time and part-time basis, as well as an Executive Director responsible to generate governmental and private funding for the services provided. Residents were offered shelter for a period of three months or less. During this time, through various partnerships with the juvenile agencies serving the Sudbury area, clients were given counselling to help them overcome or deal with their individual issues.