End Homelessness Now

End Homelessness Now

October 18, 2010 13:19 ET

Homeless People in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Line up to Vote

Time is running out! First United Church sends out an SOS for help to keep them in the running in online competition for $25,000 to help save their cart and belonging storage facility in the Downtown Eastside

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 18, 2010) - Voting is coming to an end on October 31 and First United Church struggles to maintain one of two top spots to win a $25,000 grant in the Pepsi Refresh Project.

First United Church has enjoyed 1st place for much of the past month but with the contest coming to an end the competition is getting fierce. A week ago they slipped briefly down to 3rd place before spending most of last week in 2nd place. 

"We are grateful for all the media and community support that we have been receiving over the past six weeks but with less than two weeks to go our lead is starting to slip away," says Reverend Ric Matthews, Executive Minister at First United Church, " Its only the top two in our category with the most votes that get the grant so please help us to get back in the lead and help save this essential service."

Staff and volunteers at First United Church are assisting hundreds of people who are homeless and living in the church with voting in an effort to win the competition and help sustain the facility.

"The storage facility is a substance which keeps my hopes alive," says Willy G., Community Member, "without the storage my everyday would be harder and darker."

People can store their shopping carts, rolling suitcases or be given a bin to hold their belongings. Roughly 1000 sq ft, the facility is operated seven days a week between the hours of 8am and 10:30pm. It costs about $8,200 per month to operate and offers jobs for seven Downtown Eastside residents.

The public can vote online in the $25,000 Food and Shelter category at www.refresheverything.ca/firstunitedchurch. The winner of the competition will be the entry that receives the most votes from the public over a two month period. Voting started on September 1st and ends on October 31st

Two key rules to remember:
1. You can vote once each day up to and including October 31, 2010.
2. You can vote from anywhere in the world.

About The Storage Facility
A unique storage facility installed in October 2009, thanks to a grant from the City Of Vancouver's Great Beginnings initiative, will close if funding cannot be found to support its ongoing operation. The largest storage facility of its kind in Vancouver is housed at First United Church and provides a place for over 200 people who are homeless to safely store personal belongings on a short term basis.

About First United
First United is an inclusive community situated in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside providing safe refuge for homeless & marginalized people. "Home" to 350 people daily, this 23 hrs/day facility provides services that include three meals a day, advocacy, health & social support services, storage, showers and access to supportive networks. www.firstunited.ca.

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