Saskatoon

New Saskatoon group home offers safe place for LGBT youth

OUTSaskatoon has opened Pride Home, which offers accommodation for people from the age of 16 to 21.

Pride Home a first-of-its kind in Canada

The plan is for Pride Home to accommodate up to five youth, with live-in mentors to offer support. (The Associated Press)

A new group home in Saskatoon is offering LGBT youth a safe place to live.

OUTSaskatoon has opened Pride Home, which offers accommodation for people from the age of 16 to 21.

Rachel Loewen-Walker, executive director of OUTSaskatoon, said the idea for the home came out of what the organization was hearing from its youth group.

"A lot of them were bouncing around, couch surfing, staying with relatives that weren't their parents," Loewen-Walker explained.

"But also, we were hearing stories about youth that were finding barriers when they were accessing group homes in the city."

The first of its kind group home has started small. Loewen-Walker said there are two older youths living in the house right now. The plan is to accommodate up to five young people, with live-in mentors to offer support.

"We need this, but it's sad to say that we have to take this on," said Ryan Young, a Saskatoon drag queen.

Young said when he came out 20 years ago, his family was very accepting. However, it was a very different story for some of Young's friends.

"I saw that first-hand … what it was like for people to have been kicked out and abandoned by family."

Loewen-Walker said her organization is still finalizing the financing of the home, and will be looking to the community for support. She estimated running Pride Home will cost roughly $130,000 to $150,000 a year.

Young said the home will not only give LGBT youth a positive living space, it will make them feel safe.

"These kids need love."

With files from CBC Radio's Afternoon Edition

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