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REF NO.: 86

SUBJECT: Building a home for the holidays: Memorial hosts public forum on homelessness

DATE: Dec. 2

Memorial University’s Harris Centre is partnering with Choices for Youth on a series of events this week focused on ending homelessness, particularly youth homelessness, in this province.

The first event will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 3. A Memorial Presents public forum, Building a Home: Ending Youth Homelessness in NL, will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Gower Street United Church. The panel for the evening includes Dr. Stephen Gaetz, professor, Faculty of Education, York University, and director, Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub; Sheldon Pollett, executive director, Choices for Youth; and Dr. Martha Traverso-Yepez, associate professor, Division of Community Health and Humanities, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University. The forum is open to the public and aims to inform the public on the extent of youth homelessness in Newfoundland and Labrador and what is being done elsewhere to address it, as well as spark discussion about what can be done to end youth homelessness here.

“It still comes as a surprise to people that youth homelessness is a persistent and growing issue in our province,” said Mr. Pollett. “Youth homelessness is a complicated issue. In many cases, it is a symptom stemming from childhood trauma, mental health, addictions, poverty, a disrupted education, and a lack of safe and affordable housing – there’s no solving an issue this complex without the whole community coming together.” 

In addition to the Memorial Presents public forum, the Harris Centre, Choices for Youth, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the National Mobilizing Local Capacity to End Youth Homelessness are also holding a day-long workshop for community organizations, government officials, academics, and national experts on ending youth homelessness in Newfoundland and Labrador on Thursday, Dec. 4. And on Friday, Dec. 5, at Memorial University, researchers from the university and community representatives will meet to begin the process of developing of a research agenda to help end all homelessness for this province.

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For more information on the events, please contact Cathy Newhook, communications co-ordinator, Harris Centre,, at 709-864-7918 or visit www.mun.ca/harriscentre.

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