AJOI looks to the future to shelter homeless youth on the West Island

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PME WI and AJOI partners to plan a Shelter in the WI

Since the summer of 2013, Action Jeunesse de L’Ouest de L’Ile has been lobbying  to get attention from decision makers in our community to get involved in the construction of a Shelter on the West Island. A study was publish in July 2014 Le phénomène de la domiciliation précaire chez de jeunes adultes dans la zone Ouest-de-l’Île de Montréal that identified different types of homelessness like “couchsurfing” and “crowding” on the West Island. That research was funded by  Montreal and conducted by the University of Québec in Montreal (UQAM). 

“We have tried over the past year to get funding for all the necessary planning from many foundations and private investors, but startups are very high risk and the amount of worthy causes in our community made it so that we had to think outside of the box,” Director of AJOI Benoit Langevin said. 

According to Langevin, as a result, PME West Island committed to funding 80% of an  opportunity study for a 14 beds with 72 hour emergency housing in our community.

“The lack of transportation in our community tends to isolate at risk youth and force them out of the WI to get specialized resources such has emergency housing,” Langevin explained.  “If we deal with the problem here in the WI, the reintegration process of youth living in a precarious environment is shorter than uprooting the individual in an other community. To have a family living near by and a sense of belonging to a community has a big part to play in reducing the time of a costly homeless youth episode.”

AJOI aims to improve the quality of life of young people and break the denial of poverty of the West Island. One of their objectives is to patrol the streets, parks, green spaces, and other public areas to meet and build links with the youth. This type of intervention helps build a sense of trust between the youth and the workers.

Some interesting stats from  2014-2015,

AJOI established 24270 contacts within the at risk population of the West Island (WI). This shows an increase of 8751 from last year (2013- 2014 : 15,519 contacts).

AJOI intervened 6219 times towards the at risk population of the WI (2013-2014 : 3,892).

AJOI accompanied 162 youths to the proper resources (2013-2014 : 83).

AJOI distributed over 3510 condoms to sexually active youths (2013-2014 : 764).

AJOI distributed/exchanged 1335 syringes to residents of the WI. The organisation returned 1245 syringes to the proper resource. These actions are done with a harm reduction approach linked to substance abuse. (2013-2014 : 415 syringes distributed/ returned).

AJOI accompanied/ referred 425 times youths to resources concerning their employment procedures (2013-2014 : 154).

AJOI intervened towards 137 suicide related cases (2013-2014 : 41), 36 prostitution related cases (2013-2014 : 24), 133 homelessness related cases (2013-2014 : 65), 16 runaway related cases (2013-2014 : 30), 315 mental health related cases (2013-2014 : 149), 220 substance abuse cases (2013-2014 : 143) and 1162 preoccupations concerning substance abuse (2013-2014 : 1876).

AJOI intervened with 310 cases related to housing and/ or shelter (2013-2014 : 236).

AJOI carried out 13 mediations within the family environment (2013-2014 : 21).

AJOI prevented minor acts of delinquency thanks to its constant presence within public spaces devoid of significant adults.

AJOI spent 14735 hours of street outreach work. This is an increase of 1941 hours compared to last year (2013-2014 : 12,794).

AJOI invested 396 hours in collaboration with various organizations to promote partnership within the WI.

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