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Manitoba Government News Release–The Manitoba government is investing more than $240,000 for case management and mental health supports provided through Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY) to continue to protect young individuals living in Manitoba Housing units during the COVID-19 pandemic, Families Minister Rochelle Squires announced today on National Child and Youth Mental Health Day.

“Our government is committed to supporting and protecting youth across Manitoba, especially in these stressful times,” said Squires. “As we recognize National Child and Youth Mental Health Day, we want to ensure the RaY organization is able to continue its critical work in supporting and housing youth during the pandemic. The importance of continuity to vulnerable young Manitobans, and of working with people they know and trust, cannot be underestimated.”

The provincial support includes the provision of 20 units from the Manitoba Housing inventory in addition to $242,628 ($20,219 monthly) in funding for case management and connections to life-skills and employment-based training. The government’s assistance helps extend work that began at RaY in May 2020 and ensures the continuation of these connections for youth who would otherwise experience homelessness.

“Continued funding such as this allows us to plan with youth over time. It means that youth are not kept waiting for programs they urgently need, creating housing security where none exists,” said Kelly Holmes, executive director, Resource Assistance for Youth. “Getting young people off the streets and into supported housing means they can start building the lives they want now, not next month or next year, when it may be too late.”

RaY has housed 34 youth in the Manitoba Housing units, where the individuals work with case managers and are provided with Internet access to remain connected to their social networks if they are required to isolate due to COVID-19. As well, 21 of the 34 individuals have been in contact with RaY’s mental health and addictions team, which includes a nurse practitioner. Through this support, the youth may move on to other more permanent housing, become engaged with other relevant programming or reconnect with family.