Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

April 22, 2008 13:30 ET

HRSDC/At-Risk Youth in Kelowna Receive Essential Services Support

KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - April 22, 2008) - Vulnerable youth in Kelowna working to break free from the cycles of homelessness and poverty and build a stronger future for themselves are getting help from the Government of Canada.

Mr. Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, on behalf of the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, today announced Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) funding of almost $200,000, in a joint announcement with the City of Kelowna, for the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club Gateway project.

"Our government is delivering on our commitment to help those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless," said Mr. Cannan. "We are proud to support community efforts that help find local solutions to local problems. Through this investment, the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club Gateway project will provide services that will help youth right here in Kelowna. I also wish to acknowledge the work of Mr. Ian Graham, the Board and volunteers of the Poverty Homelessness Action Team of Central Okanagan. Their efforts at the local level ensure that the funding goes where it is needed and is ultimately effective."

"The City of Kelowna is committed to helping the youth of our community," said Mayor Sharon Shepherd. "This program will offer a hand to those most vulnerable. With a safe and secure place to sleep, these youth will be able to gain confidence and dignity. With life skills training, they'll be able to develop stable lives."

The Homelessness Partnering Strategy funding will be used by the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club Gateway project to provide at-risk youth between the ages of 13 and 18 with a variety of services. These include outreach support, life skills, and the assistance of a youth outreach housing worker to help them find and maintain housing. The funding will also be used for emergency shelter staffing at the Richter Street Emergency Shelter, which the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club operates.

"Our services at the Downtown Youth Centre for at-risk and homeless youth are an example of what happens when people come together," said Mr. Craig Monley, Chief Executive Officer, Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs. "The provision of services can be a daunting task for one organization, but so many things become possible when partners join together. Sometimes, it just takes the courage to start, and great things happen."

On February 22, 2008, Minister Solberg announced that 505 projects totalling almost $150 million have been approved since April 1, 2007, under the HPS to prevent and reduce homelessness in Canada. The funding announced today is part of that total figure.

The Homelessness Partnering Strategy is providing $269.6 million over two years to help communities across Canada combat homelessness more effectively.

The Strategy recognizes that housing stability is essential to self-sufficiency and full participation in Canadian society. It focuses on transitional and supportive housing as important measures to help people overcome homelessness. With its clear goals of improved partnerships, enhanced sustainability and tangible results, the Strategy will provide concrete, meaningful and lasting results for Canadians in need.

"Our government is investing more in affordable and supportive housing than any other federal government in Canada's history. As a result, we are helping tens of thousands of Canadians reach a better, more stable life," said Mr. Cannan.

The link between homelessness and mental illness is well established. In 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the first-ever Mental Health Commission of Canada, and in Budget 2008, the Government committed $110 million for the Commission to develop new innovative demonstration projects that will help Canadians facing mental health and homelessness challenges.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

For more information on the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, please visit
www.homelessness.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    819-994-5559
    or
    Office of Minister Solberg
    Pema Lhalungpa
    Press Secretary
    819-994-2482