Three organizations are coming together to address youth homelessness in Leeds and Grenville.

The Employment and Education Centre (EEC), Connect Youth and RNJ Youth Services have launched the Reaching Home program.

The EEC says more than one-third of young people who experience homelessness in Canada are from Ontario, and most don’t live on the street. Over 80-percent of Canada’s homeless are improperly housed or on the verge of eviction. Many sleep in temporary beds either with friends or relatives, in church basements, in motels, in abandoned buildings and vehicles or in other sites away from the public eye, the EEC says.

According to a media release, Reaching Home will provide youth, aged 15 to 25 in the community, with the support and guidance needed to make real and lasting change in their lives.

“This program gives participants comprehensive wrap-around support that includes life and employability skills. While in the program, the youth will reside in a furnished apartment for up to 42 days and work with Connect Youth, RNJ Youth Services, and the Employment and Education Centre to find more sustainable housing options, develop life skills, understand and connect with community resources, and connect to employment opportunities and/or education.”

Susan Watts, Executive Director of the Employment and Education Centre says Reaching Home is a collaboration that will shed light on the very real challenges local youth face, and address these issues with practical, wrap-around services.

Anyone who may be a candidate for the program can contact Brittany Matthie, Housing Case Manager at Connect Youth at 613-246-2092.