Youth Opportunities Unlimited to create emergency shelter for homeless youth in London

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: YOU.CA
Youth Opportunities Unlimited aims to create a community where youth are embraced and will thrive. Opening a youth emergency shelter aims to prevent chronic homelessness and create a safer community for youth.

Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) is taking action to deal with the growing issue of youth homelessness in London. The Youth Emergency Shelter is expected to hold 30 beds for homeless youth ages 16 to 24 and will open their doors in 2019.

The idea for a youth emergency shelter started when the London City Council noticed the proportion of homeless youth in London was increasing. The city issued a request for a proposal for 20 to 30 bed youth emergency shelter and YOU was the successful proponent. In the summer of 2017, a contract between the city of London and YOU was signed. From here, YOU developed criteria for the appropriate property and the search for the site began.

Since 1982, YOU has worked to support youth in building their skills, confidence and independence to reach their potential. They are a non-profit organization that aids youth in finding work, housing, dental care and offers supports in several other aspects of their lives.

Their vision is to create a community where youth are embraced and will thrive. Opening an emergency shelter specifically geared towards youth will do exactly that.

The City of London is providing YOU with $1.2 million to establish the Youth Emergency Shelter and $1 million per year for operating the shelter. Additional funding will come from fundraising and donations.

Mitra Foroutan is the project manager for the Youth Emergency Shelter and said, “The role of the shelter is twofold: First, it will serve an immediate need for those youth that show up at the shelter with nowhere safe to sleep that particular night. Second, it will serve as a doorway into a system of supports for that youth, getting them the help they need and to get them re-housed as soon as possible.”

The overall goal of the emergency youth shelter is to prevent chronic homelessness and to create a safer space for homeless youth.

“We have a community advisory group of people who have worked in shelters, managed shelters and youth who have lived in shelters. This group provides advice as to the design and operations of the facility,” Foroutan said.

Once the youth emergency shelter opens, there will also be a number of partners to help support the youth in their journey out of homelessness.

To learn more about YOU and the Youth Emergency Shelter, visit

To read the full Homeless Prevention and Housing plan for 2010 to 2024, visit