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Initial Communities Chosen for Bold New Nation-wide Program to End Youth Homelessness

Nov 20, 2012
News source: Press Release

Communities across Canada are faced with a growing crisis of youth homelessness. Kamloops (BC) and Kingston (ON) have identified youth homelessness as a priority for communities. They have been chosen to join a major national effort to significantly change the course of youth homelessness locally and across the country.

The Mobilizing Local Capacity to End Youth Homelessness Program (MLC) is a five-year initiative that sees local community energies and capacity for collective action as the front line in attacking the complex social issues surrounding youth homelessness. The MLC is the result of an exciting partnership between The National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness (LC), Eva's Initiatives and the Canadian Housing Renewal Association (CHRA), with generous funding from the Catherine Donnelly Foundation. "Our ultimate goal is to end youth homelessness by fostering collective community action and promoting systemic change to public policies in Canada", says Maria Crawford, Co-Chair of the MLC program and Executive Director of Eva's Initiatives in Toronto.

This first step is designed to build the capacity of at least two communities each year to plan, implement and evaluate community-wide strategies designed to prevent, reduce and end youth homelessness. Over the next year, Kamloops and Kingston will be working with the Mobilizing Local Communities Program to assess the communities' needs and to plan and implement core strategies. The results will be shared with communities across the country.

The Mayor of the City of Kamloops, P.G. Milobar, is eager for his community to begin working on the program. "This opportunity will allow us to develop a strategy to effectively address youth homelessness in Kamloops and provide a model that can be used by other communities across the country in the coming years". Christopher Philips, Executive Director, Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society, responded enthusiastically to the announcement. "I have high hopes that this pilot project will improve our community's understanding while developing and coordinating the housing and services needed to address Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Youth homelessness in our city."

"We are very excited to be a part of this initiative. Youth homelessness is an issue in our community, as it is in so many across the country. We appreciate the opportunity to learn from others and to work with youth and stakeholders to develop a plan that will help end youth homelessness in Kingston and area", said Bhavana Varma, President & CEO, United Way, serving Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington

Mike Flynn, Chair of the Catherine Donnelly Foundation stated "The Catherine Donnelly Foundation is excited to be part of this important project that we hope will allow service providers in Kingston and Kamloops to tackle the roots of the problem of youth homelessness in their communities. The Foundation sees this as an important first step in mobilizing public opinion and community resources to combat youth homelessness across the country."

MLC Co-Chair, Sheldon Pollett, the Executive Director of Choices for Youth in St John's Newfoundland, explains, "Kamloops and Kingston share the energy and urgency needed to pioneer this work, and underscore their commitment with solid local research on youth homelessness".

Associated Website: Click here to go to source