Photo: Christine Bourget
Photo: Richard Labelle
620 different young men welcomed per year, representing 10,514 overnight stays
23,000 meals served every year at le Refuge and 80 food baskets distributed every month
19 social housing units with community support to residents
21: Average age of men assisted by le Refuge
17-25: Age group of men accepted at le Refuge
$1.5 million raised through its 2012-2014 campaign
Le Refuge des Jeunes de Montréal has been in existence for 25 years and during that time has made a remarkable contribution to battling homelessness among young men in the city. Over the years, it has hosted nearly 19,000 young men, today ranging in age from 17 to 25 years.
The charitable organization relies on a team of 18 professionals and individuals who provide advice and counselling, and sometimes just a willing ear and acceptance without judgement. They work from le Refuge’s facility in downtown Montréal. The centre provides morning and evening meals and temporary lodging in a dormitory with 45 beds, intended to get these young men off the streets and improve their living conditions.
Homeless men can turn to le Refuge for assistance in obtaining provincial health cards, government social assistance and access to educational and skills training programs. For many who have been on the streets from a young age, this guidance is a vital first step towards reintegrating into society and beginning the long and difficult task of creating a life off the streets. Many struggle with legal issues and suffer from addictions. No matter the circumstances, le Refuge is there to provide a welcoming reception and the helping hand required.
19 supportive community housing units allow a number of young men (115 since the program began in 1999) to develop skills essential to live in an apartment. The average length of stay is two years.
The majority of le Refuge’s work is made possible through charitable donations from the Montréal community. In addition to an annual variety show, le Refuge launched a fundraising campaign – Dons d’Avenirs 2012-2014 – to eliminate the mortgage on its facility and to re-build its emergency fund.
“With the number of partners who stepped forward, we were able to state with confidence in June 2014, that we had reached our fundraising goal of $1.5 million, which we view as an extraordinary accomplishment,” said France Labelle, Director General of Le Refuge des Jeunes. “The support we receive from our partners, such as Power Corporation, has been absolutely essential to make a real difference for youth in difficulty helped by Le Refuge.”
“Homelessness among both men and women, the young and old, continues to be a pressing social issue in many urban centres, including Montréal,” said André Desmarais, Deputy Chairman, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Power Corporation of Canada. “At Power, we believe in the mission of Le Refuge des Jeunes and are proud to provide our support.”