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Youth Homelessness

Vancouver Foundation targets youth homelessness and awards $414,000 in grants to this area.
April 10, 2008
Vancouver Foundation targets youth homelessness
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Vancouver Foundation today announced that it will focus on a new area -- youth
homelessness – and has approved $414,000 in initial funding for two programs that
address this important issue.
 
Every day in Vancouver, 400-600 young people between the ages of 16 and 24 are
homeless, or at risk of being homeless. Last year, there were only 169 housing spaces
in the city specifically designated for youth.
 
“Youth fall through the cracks in the system”, says Faye Wightman, President and CEO
of Vancouver Foundation. “They generally haven’t had the support needed to
transition successfully to adulthood, and often they’re no longer eligible for the
supports available to children. Many are dealing with issues related to sexuality,
histories of government care, troubled home lives, and significant mental health and
addiction issues. They need help to continue with schooling, to learn to live on their
own and manage their finances, find and keep work, and develop employment skills.”
 
Vancouver Foundation’s Board, based on recommendations from the Foundation’s
new 13-member advisory committee on Youth Homelessness, approved $414,000 for
the first of many projects that will focus specifically on youth homelessness:
 
Pacific Community Resources Society – Broadway Youth Resource Centre
$114,000 to expand an existing pilot project that provides market rental housing
to at-risk youth in Vancouver.
Central City Foundation
 
$300,000 contribution to a capital campaign of approximately $6 million for
The Crossing at Keremeos, which will provide 42 long-term residential treatment
beds for young people aged 14-24 who are challenged by addiction. This is the first
long-term residential treatment program for youth in BC.
 
Jake Kerr, Chairman of the Board for Vancouver Foundation, stressed that it was
important to start with a defined population of interest for the Foundation’s work.
“Poverty and homelessness is a huge issue,” says Kerr. “Starting with a piece of the
problem -- with youth homelessness -- made sense because we already had
established, strong relationships between the Foundation and key youth-serving
organizations in the city, and our staff is involved in the Vancouver Youth Funders
Committee. Also, focusing on youth has a significant element of homelessness
prevention.”
 
On April 8, results of the 2008 regional homelessness count were released. According
to the report by the Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on
Homelessness, there were almost 2,600 homeless individuals in the metro Vancouver
region (an increase of 19 per cent over 2005).
 
Vancouver Foundation has a long history of granting in areas related to poverty and
homelessness. In 2007, the Foundation formalized that interest when it identified
poverty and homelessness as one of four strategic priority areas. As a result, the
Foundation recently added homelessness to its other eight fields of interest, and
established an expert advisory committee to help review grants.
 
Earlier this year, Vancouver Foundation awarded three other grants that are designed
to tackle homelessness from other angles. It provided $75,000 to Covenant House to
help them expand their Crisis Shelter program; $10,000 to help Metro Vancouver
undertake the regional homelessness count; and $40,000 to the City of Vancouver to
fund a forum that will share learnings and identify next steps in addressing the needs
of people with mental illness and addictions who experience homelessness.
 
With more than 1,100 funds, and assets of almost $800 million, Vancouver Foundation
is Canada’s largest community foundation, and one of the oldest in North America.
In 2007, Vancouver Foundation, in partnership with our donors, distributed almost
$60 million to communities and innovative projects across British Columbia.
 
For more information:
Barbara Grantham
V-P Community Leadership, Vancouver Foundation
604-688-2204
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