Youth Hostel and drop in resource centre: Open 24/7 - 17 Centre Street, in St. Catharines ( View Map)

  • Phone: (905) 984-4365 / 1-833-984-4365
  • Email: Click here

What is the RAFT?

With the help of our Community Partners, The Raft has help thousands of youth throughout the Niagara Region, by providing support services, programs and resources.

Since its inception, the RAFT has supported thousands of youth, helping them to become independent and self-sufficient individuals.

In 1992, in response to growing concerns associated with a lack of services for at-risk and homeless youth, an interfaith task force examined how the community could best meet their needs.

Following consultations with education, social services, justice, the faith community and local agencies, the RAFT, operated by the Niagara Resource Service for Youth, became a reality.

With funding from service clubs, community groups, the faith community and concerned individuals, the RAFT took shape and officially opened in May of 1994. The RAFT began as a drop in centre operating five nights a week.

The RAFT expanded its programs to include a:

The community development initiatives are aimed at reducing and preventing the number of at-risk youth in Niagara. Through its Neighbourhood Awakening Initiative, the RAFT helps build stronger, caring communities in Niagara by engaging potential at-risk youth and fostering their empowerment, independence and self-esteem.

As the RAFT grew, it developed key community partners who shared its vision and beliefs. Today, in conjunction with its partners, the RAFT continues to respond to the needs of at-risk youth. Working together, one step at a time, we do make a difference.

Our Vision

The RAFT - operated by the Niagara Resource Service for Youth contributes to the welfare of our community by helping at-risk youth, families and neighbourhoods become independent and self-sufficient.

Our services strengthen the emotional and social well being of clients and act as a portal to community resources.

Services are based on the principles of Empowerment, Quality of Life, Dignity and Respect. Services are provided in a supportive and caring environment which encourages independence and self-reliance.

We believe that helping clients take control of their lives builds self-esteem and confidence while empowering clients to become fuller more involved members of their community.

Find out more about The RAFT

News & Updates

Two Years of Shelter Diversion: Learnings and Lessons

Aug 9th, 2021

This report examines the effectiveness of a Centralized Shelter Diversion program in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada between April 2019 and April 2021. The dataset consists of information gathered by a team of Shelter Diversion workers who had 2,643 interactions with 1,181 unique people as they sought access to shelter provided by the RAFT’s Youth Shelter, Southridge Community Church’s Adult Shelter, or the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara’s Nightlight Youth Shelter. The report plots the n...

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  • I enjoyed cooking group because it teaches us to cook new things we didn't know how to before. The instructor Brian did an amazing job running the program because he made cooking fun. I always look forward to it. It's great to learn how to cook good tasty food when you're on a tight budget.
    - John, Age 20
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