Chilliwack youth shelter planning four-bed expansion

Council approved $25k in funding for the expansion of Cyrus Centre Chilliwack after hearing how many youth were turned away

Les Talvio

Les Talvio

Almost the same number of homeless youth were turned away from Cyrus Centre Chilliwack this year as were given beds.

Cyrus Centre provided emergency housing for 119 youth at the Wellington Avenue shelter, but were forced to turn away another 90 youth because they were already full.

Cyrus Centre executive director Les Talvio was in council chambers Tuesday to say thanks for Chilliwack’s support, and to report on expansion plans to add four shelter beds to the existing ones, to make eight spaces in total for homeless kids.

“Your support and advocacy makes our job easier going forward,” said Talvio to council. “But it also sets an example for other communities to follow, and I really believe Chilliwack is leading the way when it comes to matters of homelessness.”

Of the 119 youth they’ve helped in 2016 at Cyrus Centre, 86 per cent were from “right here in Chilliwack,” he said.

The remaining 14% per cent of kids are from communities like Surrey, Agassiz, Hope and Spuzzum.

They still need about $120,000 in operating funds for the expansion, and are awaiting funding news from MCFD on that score, said Talvio.

“You are doing an amazing job and we are proud to have you in our community,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “You are obviously filling a big hole.”

Council approved funding for the expansion, in the amount of $25,000, earmarked specifically for building renovations at Cyrus Centre.