After a difficult and confusing childhood, Erica Quesnel became a homeless teenaged crack addict.
With counselling and support from the Youth Services Bureau Downtown Drop-in Centre, she was able to clean up her life, become a mother, and is now looking forward to starting college to become an addictions counsellor.
The first steps in a major renovation of the 60-year-old drop-in centre began yesterday.
The federal and provincial governments have committed $533,000 to the reconstruction.
The McKesson Foundation had donated another $25,000.
The YSB is hoping to raise $500,000 in private donations to cover the cost of rebuilding the centre, said executive director Alex Munter.