Cyrus Centre secures downtown Chilliwack location

The Cyrus Centre has found location in Chilliwack, thanks to a lease agreement reached with the City of Chilliwack.

A youth shelter with four emergency beds for homeless youth could be opened in Chilliwack by the end of the summer.

A vacant building owned by City of Chilliwack that used to house Family Place on Wellington Avenue will be rented out to Cyrus Centre Chilliwack, according to a lease agreement the two parties just inked.

“Although the possession date has not yet been finalized, our goal is to be fully operational by late summer,” said Les Talvio, executive director of Cyrus Centre.

Some renovation work has to be completed first at the site, but they’re happy it’s over since the search for a location has been exhaustive.

Council passed a resolution to assist Cyrus reps with the hunt for a suitable space.

“We provided our criteria, and there were 19 properties considered,” he said.

The Wellington Avenue spot suits their needs in terms of size, location and layout. They liked how it’s set back from the road, and has a courtyard out back.

“It’s just ideal,” Talvio added.

Part of the reason for Cyrus coming to town, is that Chilliwack agencies identified “a crucial and urgent need” for housing services for homeless and at-risk youth.

Aside from the Cyrus Centre in Abbotsford, there are no shelter beds anywhere for at-risk youth in the vast expanse spanning from Metro Vancouver to the Okanagan.

“The addition of Cyrus Centre in Chilliwack will help address the important need for a youth shelter space and help protect one of the most vulnerable groups in our community,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz in a release. “One strong point made by the 2014 FVRD Homeless Count report was that we need to work with community partners, both government and non-government, to find innovative ways to reduce homelessness. This is just another innovative way that the City of Chilliwack is addressing that need.”

The building at 45845 Wellington Avenue will house the new youth facility, and it’s across the street from Decades Coffee Club, where a minor controversy erupted when Cyrus was considering purchasing the building a couple of months ago, which could have displaced the local coffee shop.

Now that’s all been worked out and Decades gets to remain where it is.

“We’re looking forward to have Decades as our neighbours,” Talvio said.

Cyrus Centre will be a starting point for teens in trouble.

“That meal we serve to them could be the very first point of contact for youth who are on their way to exiting the streets,” said Talvio.

The centre will provide youth with meals, shelter, clothing, advocacy, referrals, showers, laundry, life skills, employment coaching and more.  The lack of services for homeless youth in Chilliwack has been stressed repeatedly by the Chilliwack Healthier Community Committee through their recent forum series, the Mayor’s Committee on Housing (2013), and Chilliwack’s Youth Shelter Steering Group (2013).

In terms of location, it was important to both the City of Chilliwack and Cyrus Centre that the centre was properly situated in the community and that commercial property is not utilized for a non-profit purpose.

“The city has been amazing throughout,” said Talvio. “I’ve actually been wowed by the initiative and cooperation shown by city officials in this process.”

The property was previously leased by Chilliwack Community Services, so a rezoning will not be required for Cyrus Centre to operate the youth facility. Under the terms of the lease, a good neighbour agreement will also be in place.

“For youth who are affected by homelessness, poverty and exploitation, this new facility means access to the services they require,” Talvio added.

“It will help them find some hope in what can be a hopeless situation.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Missing blood python named Nexxus returns home

‘He was just chillin’ like the villain he is,’ says owner after snake went on adventure in Chilliwack

Chilliwack FC hires Mark Lillicrap to oversee COVID return-to-play guidelines

Lillicrap will serve as CFC’s first-ever Health and Safety Officer

Huge month for Chilliwack real estate in July

Average selling price up 12 per cent with sales numbers not seen since boom of 2017

OPINION: Grade school students don’t have a voice during COVID pandemic

As adults weigh pros and cons of returning kids to school, is anyone asking kids what they think?

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Salmon arrive in larger numbers at Big Bar landslide

Arrival follows historic hihg-water levels that halted migration runs

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

COVID-19 exposure at Surrey rave prompts warning from Fraser Health

Party was held at Royal Beauty Supply in Whalley

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Most Read