This new housing complex will help youth who are leaving the child welfare system

Cynthia Summers, CHC's CEO, left, and Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens at the opening of the new facility. (Submitted by Cidney Langlois - image credit)

At-risk young individuals facing housing insecurity and homelessness in Windsor will now have a new place to receive refuge and support, following the creation of a youth supportive housing complex with dedicated life skills programming, the city has announced.

In a news release, the city says the housing complex created by the Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation (CHC), supports up to 15 individuals between the ages of 18 and 23 transitioning out of the child welfare system and into adulthood.

The facility is expected to be ready to accept individuals beginning this month, and Jay Shanmugam, chief regeneration and development officer at CHC, said this is very timely given the urgent need for housing.

"I think right now there's a crisis in housing and, you know, every sector of the community is looking for housing and there's a lack of housing in every sector," Shanmugam told CBC News.

"I think youth specifically, I think we need to provide them with a strong foundation for them to be a successful part of the community and this will definitely help that endeavour by providing youths that are transitioning from the child welfare system into adulthood and they will be able to use this transitioning facility to move on to living their own life independently."

We are proud to have built this lovely home for these much deserving youth. - Cynthia Summers, CEO of CHC

CHC partnered with the City of Windsor, Public Safety Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and the Windsor Essex Children's Aid Society (WECAS) to create the complex with funding from three levels of government.

The city says more than $2 million of the funding comes from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). Public Safety Canada also contributed funding to the project through the Building Safer Communities Fund (BSCF).

A safe haven for young people: CHC CEO

Cynthia Summers, CHC's CEO said the new partnership has enabled them to offer a safe haven for young people facing homelessness and housing insecurity.

"Our new youth supportive housing complex will provide not just shelter, but a beautiful, modern home where these youth can gain the life skills needed to embark on a successful journey forward," Summers said.

"We are proud to have built this lovely home for these much deserving youth."

Ensuring no one is left behind: mayor

Mayor Drew Dilkens says city council recognizes that initiatives like the new supportive housing complex "make a profound difference for at-risk youth and vulnerable populations in Windsor."

He said the council is committed to implementing the strategies in the 10-year Housing and Homelessness Master Plan, and building Windsor's future in a way that ensures "no one is left behind."

The city says WECAS will implement new programming at the location, including life skills development on topics such as home management and tenancy, financial literacy and budgeting, and self care; peer engagement and leadership opportunities; prevention strategies for negative peer or gang involvement; and finally, community engagement and career exploration.

The programming will be supported by community partners New Beginnings, local experts in risk intervention and prevention techniques, to promote community safety and prevent gun and gang violence, the city says.

"The challenges faced by our youth can feel overwhelming and insurmountable especially in a time where the cost of living is rising and affordable housing is scarce," said Derrick Drouillard, executive director, Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society. "That is why this project is so vitally important and necessary."