Housewarming Drive to help rising number of people and families with basic housing needs across Lower Mainland

    "Once people are housed, the question is do they buy a used easy chair or
    groceries and keep sleeping on their clothes."

    VANCOUVER, June 3 /CNW/ - The HomeStart Foundation, a front line agency
that provides furniture to people who have been homeless, and Vancouver-based
1-800-Rid-Of-It Junk Removal, announced today they are partnering to furnish
three to five homes for those most in need in Vancouver during a time when the
economy and ongoing lack of affordable housing are translating into heightened
demand, especially from families with children.
    "Once people are housed, the question is do they buy a used easy chair or
groceries and continue sleeping on their clothes?" says Vikki Stevenson,
executive director of HomeStart, which works with 81 agencies across the Lower
Mainland, including the Salvation Army and Union Gospel Mission, to provide
basic furnishings. "We know demand is up. Times are definitely worse, which is
why we've made this appeal."
    She said there has been a twenty five per cent increase between April
2008 and April 2009 in the number of people inquiring into housing. In the
first four months of 2009, HomeStart provided more than $30,500 worth of
furniture to people in need (based on thrift store pricing), a 20 per cent
increase over the same time last year.
    The partnership's "Housewarming Drive" - to become an annual event - is
appealing to the Vancouver community to donate unwanted furniture that will be
picked up by 1-800-Rid-Of-It Junk Removal free of charge this coming Friday
and Saturday, June 5th and 6th. Items that are most helpful are kitchen sets,
sofas/easy chairs (these can double as beds) and dressers, all gently used or
in excellent quality.
    "We know from pick-ups and talking with customers that there are loads of
old dressers and chairs collecting dust. It's time to give them a better use,"
said Mike McKee, president of 1-800-Rid-Of-It Junk Removal.
    He said people can call 1-800-Rid-Of-It Junk Removal and a team will
arrive to pick-up the used furniture on either Friday or Saturday.

For further information:

For further information: Vikki Stevenson, Executive Director, HomeStart
Foundation, (778) 867-9494; Mike McKee, President of 1-800-Rid-Of-It Junk
Removal, (604) 659-6684

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