Community Highlight: Kingston Youth Shelter

Her Campus Queen’s U is aiming to raise awareness about youth homelessness in the Kingston community. We are partnering with the Kingston Youth Shelter (KYS) and will be hosting events and booths on campus to fundraise money and collect donations for the shelter.

People’s experiences with homelessness are incredibly complicated and depend on a variety of factors. The struggles and discrimination people face, and the different parts of their identities, are often concealed by the fact that they are facing a housing crisis; in reality, homelessness rarely exists as a stand-alone obstacle.

The City of Kingston & County of Frontenac 2017 Housing and Homelessness Report says, “Addressing the root causes of youth homelessness impacts future employment opportunities, quality-of-life, well-being and, most importantly, ensures the inclusion of youth as active, participating and contributing citizens of our community and society.” By donating items and/or money, we can help the Kingston Youth Shelter and remind those at the shelter that they are valuable and loved members of the community.

Stuck on what to donate? “We are always happy to receive donations such as hygiene items & gently used clothing. Items that people may not consider are things such as cleaning supplies (e.g. laundry detergent, floor cleaner, disinfectant wipes), new underwear (men & women), headphones, sketch books, hair brushes…” says a staff member from Kingston Youth Shelter.

KYS also has an Amazon wish list that you can find here.

We asked the staff members at the Kingston Youth Shelter a few questions: here’s what they had to say!

HCQU: How would you describe the efforts of Kingston Youth Shelter?

KYS: The Kingston Youth Shelter provides a supportive, stable, and safe environment for all youth experiencing a housing crisis. The Shelter also provides family mediation to those experiencing family crisis, a housing support worker to assist youth in securing stable housing, and two transitional homes where youth pay an affordable rent and can stay long-term to work alongside staff, developing the tools and life skills needed to live independently.

HCQU: If there were one word to describe Kingston Youth Shelter, what would that word be, and why?

KYS: If the shelter could be summed up with one word, that word would be “compassionate.” This word not only describes how our staff work, but it also describes the way the youth help each other out – even when they don’t have much themselves.

HCQU: What is the best part about working at the Kingston Youth Shelter?

KYS: The best part about working at the Kingston Youth Shelter is working with amazing & resilient youth, and assisting them in gaining skills needed to become independent.

HCQU: What is one thing you would like students at Queen’s to know about Kingston Youth Shelter?

KYS: One thing for students at Queens to know is that homelessness is something that can affect anyone – including students at SLC or Queen’s. There are many things that can contribute to homelessness, such as family conflict, addictions, mental health, lack of a stable income, or conflict with roommates. Some of your classmates could be struggling with these issues as well, and it’s okay to reach out for help and to utilize resources and supports that are available.

Remember, no contribution is too little. Simply sharing our Facebook event (which you can find here), donating spare change, promoting the shelter and its efforts, or donating a gently used sweater that you no longer wear goes a long way!

If we all combine our passion for civic engagement, it is possible to make a difference.

To learn more about the Kingston Youth Shelter, please visit www.kingstonyouthshelter.com.