Nova Scotia

Ex-shelter resident pleads for SHYFT

A young man who once dropped out of school has joined the fight to save the Yarmouth homeless shelter that took him in.

A young man who once dropped out of school has joined the fight to save the Yarmouth homeless shelter that took him in.

The Supportive Housing Youth Focus Team, known as SHYFT, took in 34 homeless and at-risk youth last year. It's set to close on Friday.

Brandon Madden spent his house arrest at the shelter when he had no place to go. He returned to school during his stay.

"Throughout those nine, 10 months I felt like I had a family, a home. Before that I felt like I had nothing, I was alone," Madden said.

Madden and other SHYFT supporters were in Halifax on Thursday to lobby for the shelter.

"The citizens of Nova Scotia won't accept a double standard, where services for these youth are available in Metro but not in rural areas of the province," said Bernadette MacDonald, a shelter fundraiser.

She said the Department of Community Services is offering SHYFT House $61,000 for the next fiscal year, but it won't cover the shelter's monthly deficit.

MacDonald said that means the facility won't have enough money to keep going.

Zach Churchill, the Liberal MLA for the area, said SHYFT could actually save the government money by keeping at-risk youth out of jail and detoxification centres.

"Without this program these youth will have few options and very uncertain futures," he said.

Temporary places have been found for the six youth who will be evicted when the centre closes.

Two full-time employees and several part-time workers are losing their jobs.

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