That’s what it took for Cyrus Centre Chilliwack to go from an idea, to the ribbon-cutting and grand opening set for Monday, Sept. 8.
“It was on Sept. 17 of last year that we decided to come to Chilliwack with our offer, and 51 weeks later, here we are opening our doors,” said Les Talvio, executive director of Cyrus Centre Chilliwack. “It shows what a community can do when people want to work together.”
The four-bed Cyrus Centre facility on Wellington Avenue will have emergency beds for youth under 19 who have no where else to sleep. They will employ seven staff, and offer services such as mediation, meals, advocacy and referrals.
The referral process is open at Cyrus, meaning that young people can be be referred by social service and youth workers, as well as by RCMP or the youth themselves.
The need to house homeless youth was underlined during the last homeless count in Chilliwack, he noted, which showed that 40 per cent of the people who said they were homeless were between the ages of 15 and 19.
“I believe that was the highest percentage in the province,” said Talvio.
Chilliwack mayor and council have been amazing and supportive, he said, showing “stellar” leadership and offering encouragement. Local businesses and the DT Chilliwack BIA have also been welcoming Cyrus officials to the community.
“Now we need the support of the rest of the community,” he said.
People have been stepping up to donate to Cyrus Centre Chilliwack on a personal basis as well as from businesses. The Leap of Faith fundraiser raised about $20,000 for the cause.
The open house and ribbon cutting is at Cyrus Centre Chilliwack on Sept. 8 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.