Saskatoon

New youth-designed transition home aims to support Saskatoon's most vulnerable teens

A man who helped oversee the design and construction of the Ground Zero Youth Transition Home says it is the most unique project he has been a part of in the last 20 years.

Youth reviewed all policies, guidelines and intake forms, and youth committee helped hire staff

The Ground Zero Youth Transition Home opened in Saskatoon on Monday. (Matt Garand/CBC)

A new transition home in Saskatoon was designed by the young people that will be using it.

The Ground Zero Youth Transition Home can house 10 young people for 30 days at a time. It provides supports for the 15-to-19 age group who are homeless, in the care of the Ministry of Social Services or who are eligible but unable to receive services.

Don Meikle, the executive director of Egadz — a non-profit community-based organization — helped oversee the project.

"At that age, they are seen as young adults and able to make their own decisions," he told Saskatoon Morning guest host Heather Morrison. "And these kids were saying, 'Well, they don't. They're still kids. And they very often get forgot about.'"

Meikle said it is the most unique project he has been a part of in the last 20 years.

The home includes private bedrooms as well as medical, education, addictions and mental health services and supports.

The idea is to provide an immediate, safe place to live while the youth obtain secure, long-term housing or placement. Outreach services will also be available for youth who have moved out of the program.

He said the youth reviewed all policies, guidelines and intake forms.

"They would pick it apart," he said. "They took all the questions, what they would ask the kids, and they'd say, 'No, no, no, no.' They would take a five-page intake and make it one page."

A committee made up of youth put in a proposal for the home — and even helped hire the roughly 15 staff members.

The new home celebrated its grand opening on Monday.

The provincial government has committed $1.1 million in ongoing annual funding to support the new home. The Saskatchewan Health Authority will provide $244,000 in funding.

with files from Saskatoon Morning

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