In Canada, there are a minimum of 35,000 youth over the course of the year without a place to call home and as many as 7,000 on any given night. With such staggering numbers, youth homelessness clearly continuing to affect communities across the country.
In Kamloops, youth homelessness is both a real and pressing problem. Youth in the community are experiencing family conflict, eviction, discharge from institutional care, poverty, and dangerous living situations. Homeless youth in Kamloops are also struggling with mental health issues, substance use, bullying, isolation, and discrimination based on their race, background, sexuality, or capabilities.
Here at the Robert L. Conconi Foundation, we are always looking to new initiatives and projects that truly inspire us, and ones that aim to better the communities that need it the most. One project in particular has caught our eye, in part due to the amazing collective effort from a funding perspective, as well as the collaboration across multiple community organizations.
Supporting A Way Home
The Conconi Foundation is proud to be supporting the A Way Home initiative in Kamloops, a national coalition against youth homelessness. Since its inception, the Foundation has been an active supporter of organizations in the Interior, particularly within the city of Kamloops.
Through collaboration, knowledge, and resource sharing on both a local and national level, we have seen an opportunity to support a provincial cause with a very local tie that speaks deeply to us. The initiative focuses its efforts on ensuring an effective use of resources, which eliminates duplication. The focus can then shift to core competencies for each partner involved, streamlining the roles of everyone invested.
About A Way Home Initiative Kamloops
A Way Home is a community program made up of a group of over 108 professionals and 17 organizations. The team is dedicated to reducing, preventing and ending youth homelessness through the implementation of the Kamloops Youth Homelessness Action Plan. National leadership of this program is spearheaded by the Catherine Donnelly Foundation and Dr. Stephen Gaetz of The Homeless Hub,
The plan focuses on four core action items: housing, prevention, supports and employment. Identified based on priority areas, these pillars serve as the foundation for the plan, with each area of focus crucial in preventing and ending youth homelessness in Kamloops.
Impact and Partnerships
Since January 2016, the community movement for A Way Home has grown by 30 percent, with multiple aspects of the program being funded by various corporate and independent partners within Kamloops. Kamloops has been the perfect city to launch the pilot project thanks to the amazing local organizations that showed the leadership and support to bring the project to life.
Currently, 108 professionals and 17 community organizations from sectors including health, education, non-profits, ministries, businesses, and landlords have been working together over the past 6 months to help youth in need. A remarkable feat, and one that showcases how dedicated each partner is to both preventing and ending youth homelessness in Kamloops through the implementation of the Kamloops Homeless Youth Action Plan.
Together in part with the City of Kamloops, United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo, and Interior Family Services, the Conconi Foundation are funding a managerial position, intended to help guide and execute the plan.
How to Help
For those looking to get involved in the initiative and show support, donations can be made through the United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo to help funding for the program. To download a full copy of the Way Home Action Plan, please click here.