Resource Assistance for Youth chosen as one of Canada's most innovative organizations for homeless youth

Winner of Eva's Initiatives Award for Innovation sponsored by CIBC

WINNIPEG, May 18 /CNW/ - CIBC is pleased to announce that Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY) has been selected as one of Canada's most innovative organizations for homeless youth by Eva's Initiatives, an organization that works with homeless and at-risk youth aged 16 to 24 to get them off the streets permanently.

The Eva's Initiatives Awards for Innovation are sponsored by CIBC and given out annually to recognize outstanding work with homeless youth. RaY was selected for its RaY Emergency Shelter and Transition (REST) which aims to provide homeless and at-risk youth with alternatives to the emergency shelter system while supporting their transition to safe and affordable long-term housing. This includes building bridges between street-involved youth and both public and private sector landlords.

"Two critical issues facing homeless youth are the need for prevention work and the lack of affordable housing opportunities for youth in many cities," comments Rachel Gray, Eva's Director of National Initiatives. "The success of innovative programs like REST is in creating effective and mutually benefitting partnerships between youth, and public and private landlords that create long-term relationships and lasting social change."

"Many small steps in the right direction have added up to a small triumph in making more housing available to those who need it most," said Kelly Holmes, Executive Director, RaY. "This success is an example of what can happen when a number of sectors work together to get youth off the street and assist them in working towards a better life.  To receive this award is a great honor for RaY, and also a reminder of the importance of developing a comprehensive national housing strategy aimed at meeting the needs of our marginalized youth."

The Government of Manitoba is also involved in this project, and has committed 2-4 units within a Manitoba Housing complex to provide youth with transitional housing. This housing offers an alternative to existing emergency shelters for youth who are escaping abusive situations, have "aged out" of the child welfare system, are waiting for treatment, and/or who require short-term supported accommodation before they commit to a long-term living arrangement.

"Congratulations to RaY! This national award recognizes what we in Manitoba already know; that RaY is a leader in working with our most vulnerable citizens, and helping them reach their potential," said Kerri Irvin-Ross, Minister of Housing and Community Development. "I'm particularly proud of RaY's partnering work to both help youth integrate into community, and, conversely, build a network of support around each youth. The old adage, 'It takes a community to raise a child,' really hits home when we see how successful people can be when they have simple access to a network of resources and support."

"At CIBC, helping young people achieve their full potential is an important part of our community investment program," said Larry Tomei, CIBC's Senior Vice-President for Central Canada. "We are proud to support Eva's Initiatives and the National Innovation Awards and salute Resource Assistance for Youth for its exemplary work with homeless youth." CIBC has had a long-standing relationship with Eva's Initiatives, to which it has contributed more than $330,000 since 1995.

Nationally, Eva's Initiatives works to build innovative and long-term solutions to youth homelessness. The Eva's Initiative Innovation Awards program is in its sixth year of recognizing the work of organizations across Canada to help homeless youth become self-sufficient. Since 2006, Eva's Initiatives has honoured 18 organizations for their work with homeless and at-risk youth. A six member panel, knowledgeable about services for homeless youth, reviews all applications and selects three winners from among the many applicants with impressive and innovative projects underway in communities across the county.

The other winners for 2011 are:

  • Bathurst Youth Centre for its transitional housing model and preventative programs in partnership with the Province of New Brunswick (Bathurst, NB)
  • Phoenix Youth Programs for Phoenix Prevention Program and Community Development Initiative in Mulgrave Park (Halifax, NS)

CIBC is committed to supporting causes that matter to our clients, employees and our communities. We aim to make a difference in communities through corporate donations, sponsorships and the volunteer spirit of employees. With a strategic focus on youth, education and health, and employee commitment to causes including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, the CIBC Children's Foundation and United Way, we are investing in the social and economic development of communities across the country. In 2010, $33.7 million was contributed through the CIBC group of companies to charitable and non-profit initiatives in Canada, supporting a wide variety of national, regional and local organizations. To learn more, visit www.communitymatters.cibc.com.

SOURCE CIBC

For further information:

Rachel Gray, Director, National Initiatives, Eva's Initiatives, 416-977-4497, rachel@evas.ca; or Adrien Sala, Communication Coordinator, RaY, 204-783-5617 x208, asala@rayinc.ca; Rachel Morgan, Press Secretary to Cabinet, Government of Manitoba, 204-945-1494, rachel.morgan@leg.gov.mb.ca; Jessica Botelho-Carinci, Senior Manager, Community Investment, CIBC, 416-980-8859, jessica.botelho@cibc.com.


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