Scotiabank and Streetohome Foundation support innovative program for youth at risk

VANCOUVER, Nov. 1, 2011 /CNW/ - Streetohome Foundation is delighted to announce a $250,000 contribution today from Scotiabank towards finding real solutions for homelessness in Vancouver. This gift will be used to support an innovative program to address the needs of homeless or at-risk youth with mental health and addictions issues.

"Scotiabank is dedicated to helping young people find the tools and resources they need to build a foundation for success and reach their goals in life," said David Poole, Senior Vice President, BC & Yukon Region, Scotiabank.  "We are proud to support Streetohome Foundation and innovative programs that address the needs of at-risk youth in our community."

Streetohome Foundation is committed to working with non-profit, business, community, and government partners to find new approaches to preventing and alleviating homelessness in Vancouver.

"One of the most significant risk factors for homelessness is mental illness, and it's a key risk factor in youth homelessness," said Dick Vollet, President of Streetohome Foundation. "Youth are a particularly vulnerable group. Many young people leaving foster care are lacking in education, skills, and a safe place to live. Their situation can be complicated by developmental disabilities, mental health issues, and physical health problems."

Youth homelessness is a growing issue in Vancouver. While the preliminary count from the most recent Greater Vancouver Homeless Count numbers shows that overall homelessness in Vancouver has decreased this year, a total of 349 unaccompanied youth (under the age of 25) were counted as homeless in 2011. This is a 29 percent increase since 2008, when 270 homeless youth were identified.

Streetohome Foundation has earmarked this contribution from Scotiabank for one of the leading organizations in youth homelessness in Vancouver: Covenant House.

This funding will be used to support a program for homeless or at-risk youth living with mental health and addictions issues.  Youth are supported by a team of Covenant House staff, the Inner City Youth Mental Health Team and Coast Mental Health.  Trained and highly experienced staff will help create a safe housing environment, and provide mental health and addictions evaluations, counseling and psychiatric support, addictions management counseling, and group activities that will help develop life skills.

Initially, the program will include 13 youth, with capacity expected to increase in the future for up to 30 youth.

"Covenant House Vancouver's Semi-Independent Housing Program ensures that our youths' mental health issues are diagnosed and treated, giving them the stability and health required to access existing housing in the community" said Krista Thompson, Executive Director at Covenant House.  She added "the support we are receiving from Scotiabank is significant and clearly demonstrates their commitment to young people and the issue of mental health; we are proud of this partnership and the positive impact it will have for our youth."

About Scotiabank:

Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad, through our global philanthropic program, 'Bright Future.' Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for our charitable donations and philanthropic activities, Scotiabank has provided on average approximately $44 million annually to community causes around the world over the last five years. Visit us at www.scotiabank.com.

About Streetohome Foundation:

Streetohome is dedicated to ensuring that residents of our city have access to safe, decent, affordable housing and the support they need to make a difference in their lives. Streetohome is the first organization in Vancouver to take a systematic approach to addressing both homelessness and its root causes. Learn more at www.streetohome.org.

About Covenant House:

Covenant House provides three core programs (street outreach/daily drop-in, crisis shelter and a 6 - 24 months transitional living program) for homeless and at-risk young people aged 16-24.  Through a carefully designed "continuum of care," Covenant House assists young people from the moment when we first meet them on the street right through to full independence when they graduate from our transitional living program.  All three programs are supported by in-house drug and alcohol counsellors, mental health clinicians and access to psychiatrists.  Last year, over 1400 young people came to Covenant House looking for a way off the streets. Visit us at www.covenanthousebc.org.

SOURCE Scotiabank - Sponsorships

For further information:

Lindsay Yuasa, Streetohome Foundation
T: 604.629.2711  ext. 104
E: lindsayy@streetohome.org


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