“It really shows the youth here that they’re valuable,” said Phoenix Khattab, one of the staffers at the soon-to-open new Langley Youth Hub.
The new building in the 20200 block of 62nd Avenue opens Tuesday, April 3, and staff can’t wait.
It replaces services that were located in small offices, or in some cases scattered through the community.
Khattab and Alison Nicol described some of the amenities of the new building this week.
Among other services, there will be visits from doctors twice a month, cultural programming provided by the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society, meetings with Langley RCMP Youth Unit officers, housing support and outreach, naloxone training, a closet-sized recording studio for singing or podcasting, mental health or substance abuse counselling, and much more.
“We’re coming to them, as opposed to sending them all over the community,” said Nicol.
The facility is packed with items that are of practical use to teenagers and young adults, including a shower, laundry facilities, a kitchen that will serve meals on at least two nights a week.
The back end of the building will be a quiet space including waiting rooms and places for kids to meet with counsellors, doctors, or social workers.
It’s not just for serious situations, Khattab said.
“If they need a place just to do homework,” she said.
“Everything we did on this project was for the youth,” said Loren Roberts of Encompass Support Services Society. “They’re the ones who drove it.”
That extends to the paint on the walls. Young Hub users were polled to select the paint colours, and lent a hand with paint rollers recently.
Staff and the youth who have already seen the shelter are very excited about the project opening at last.
While local youth advocates have long wanted a standalone facility, it was only last year that all the funding suddenly came together with the support of a broad coalition of local partners, from the municipality to the province to business sponsors, to Langley teens.
The building went up quickly because it’s a modular design.
“We’re very excited to see it going from on paper, just a concept, to coming to fruition,” said Nicol.
Many teenagers volunteered during set up and they’ve taken ownership of the space, said Khattab.
Much of the publicity around the new Youth Hub has focused on the fact that it will include Langley’s first and only youth homeless shelter. But the bulk of programs will be available for any young person in the community, aged 12 to 24.
The shelter component doesn’t start immediately.
“This program will be staffed 24/seven,” said Nicol. Located upstairs, it includes five small private rooms, its own kitchen and dining area and a hangout area.