The Board of Directors of TYPS Almonte’s Youth Centre made the painful decision to close the centre due a lack of funding after an investigation of finances conducted during September revealed the Centre had less than $100 of operating capital, with projected expenses of approximately $20,000 over the next two months. The doors to TYPS were closed as of Friday October 10, when staff were informed that their employment has been terminated due to lack funding.
At last Thursday’s TYPS-hosted Almonte All-Candidates Meeting to a capacity audience, our Executive Director made the following statement about youth services in her role as the evening’s MC – the day before she had to lay off her staff:
I can tell you there’s never been a greater need. Many don’t know this, but we have homeless youth in our town. Just take a moment to think about that. What would we do if we had seniors sleeping in doorways in the cold, or begging for a room or a couch to sleep on each night? Homeless youth in a Lanark County winter is real. And we all need to think hard about our collective responsibilities as we consider that reality.
In the past year, I can tell you that our youth centre has assisted six homeless youth with housing searches and placements; we have supported five suicidal youth with crisis counselling and ongoing support, connecting them with outside resources along the way; and we have supported a pregnant and eventually, a parenting teen mom and her partner with access to an excellent community resource, supplying the very basic needs that I have for my own baby. We have also regularly provided a daily meal for many youth who come to us, because otherwise, they would remain hungry.
In dozens of less dramatic examples, we provide our Town’s youth with fun activities, friendship among peers, and a safe environment away from what may be a challenging home life. We also mentor self-reliance and life skills that we know will turn today’s youth into excellent citizens who will help build our town a generation from now.
TYPS started the present fiscal year with a deficit of $16,500 on a total budget of under $200,000. While we have worked hard this year to erase or reduce this deficit, it has unfortunately increased, due in part to funding cuts. As a recipient of support from the United Way, TYPS cannot appeal to the public for donations during the United Way’s annual fundraising campaign, which runs until late November. We therefore have no choice but to close our doors.
“We profoundly regret our decision to close the youth centre,” said Board Chair Sophie Tamas. “TYPS has served local youth for almost 20 years. We have suffered through various funding crises, but this year the Board didn’t see any way to continue. This is a terrible loss for the youth who rely on our pro-grams, and the staff who have worked so hard to support them. We hope this gives our community an opportunity to rethink its investment in youth services. We need a more sustainable approach.”
To that end TYPS will be working with its partners to host a community forum on youth services this fall. Details will be announced as they become available.
For more information please contact: Sophie Tamas, Chair, TYPS Board of Directors