Four years ago, when Matthew Holzer had nowhere to go, he found himself at Street Culture Project’s Downtown Browne shelter.

“This was all new. I’d never been in an institution before. When I got here I didn’t know what to expect,” Holzer said at the Shelter’s fifth anniversary celebration.

Holzer said he thought he’d be lonely in the shelter, but instead, he found himself part of a new family. Fast forward to today, he’s now a staffmember at the non-profit.

Former clients and staff like Holzer gathered at the shelter Wednesday to mark the anniversary, and acknowledge the important role it plays in the community.

The 15 beds at the Downtown Browne Youth Emergency Shelter are funded through the Ministry of Social Services and run by Regina’s Street Culture Project.

Besides meeting the physical needs of the youth in their care, the shelter also works with them to make positive changes in their lives.

What sets Downtown Browne apart from other shelters is that while youth have the option to access programming, it isn’t a requirement.

“The beautiful thing about Street Culture’s programing is that it’s all voluntary. They need to want it,” saidStreet Cultureexecutive directorMike Gerrand.

According to Gerrand, the shelter has served roughly 1,000 youth since it first opened in 2012.