A St. John's service that has been providing drop-in and outreach support for at-risk and homeless youth for more than a decade is looking for a new space.

'If we weren't fully operational, it would really impact people who rely on that service on a weekly basis.' - Angela Crockwell

Street Reach, which is run by the Thrive Community Network, has been operating downtown since 2005, and for the last six years has run its drop-in centre at 68 Queen's Rd.

Street Reach offers food, warm clothing, needle exchange, crisis intervention and many more services to homeless and at-risk youth.

Specific needs

Now, the building is up for sale, and Thrive has been told it has until the end of September to find a new location for Street Reach, which sees more than 600 unique individuals come through its doors every year.

"We're looking for [a] really good, cheap space in downtown St. John's," said Thrive executive director Angela Crockwell.

"Our current space was given to us way below market value, because people recognize the need for this program and that it really does provide an essential service for people. If we weren't fully operational, it would really impact people who rely on that service on a weekly basis."
Angela Crockwell

Angela Crockwell, the executive director for the community youth group Thrive, says the Street Reach program has a specific set of needs for a new space. (CBC)

Crockwell said — given the large volume of people Street Reach handles, as well as the types of services it provides — Thrive has specific criteria it needs to meet for a new space. That includes being in the downtown core, being able to comfortably hold 50 people at a time, have a kitchen where staff and volunteers can cook meals and, most important, be affordable.

With a limited budget she recognizes the group may have difficulty meeting all those requirements, but one option it's open to is sharing space with another group.

"We don't necessarily need our own dedicated space. That would be ideal, but we are certainly open to co-locating with people," she said.

"We're not operating the drop-in centre 30 or 40 hours a week, so we only need it at specific times throughout the week."

Youth Homelessness

Thrive still plans to have volunteers out walking around downtown St. John's assisting homeless youth, even if it isn't able to acquire a new space for the Street Reach program. (bchomeless.com)

Crockwell said they would prefer not to be located on Duckworth Street or Water Street, so they won't disrupt businesses who might not like seeing dozens of youths coming and going from Thrive's drop-in centre.

She said it's crucial that a new location is found in the next few weeks, so they have time to move. But if nothing is finalized, the group will still continue to send staff out to help youth living on the streets of downtown St. John's.

"We will still be street level, and people will still be out on the streets with backpacks," she said.

With files from the St. John's Morning Show