November 21, 2012
Kamloops, B.C. - Kamloops has recently been selected as one of two pilot communities across Canada in the Mobilizing Local Capacity to End Youth Homelessness Program, a national-level project focused on ending youth homelessness. As a pilot community, Kamloops will receive national program resources in the planning and development of a youth homelessness strategy that will be utilized not only at the local level, but as an exportable model for other communities across Canada. The City of Kamloops is the lead entity for Kamloops in this initiative.
The 2009 City of Kamloops Social Plan established 'Housing and Homelessness' as one of seven priority areas for the community. The consultation process identified youth at multiple points in this priority area. Furthermore, the Kamloops Homelessness Action Plan (HAP) lists 'outreach geared specifically to youth' as a key engagement strategy. This focus is supported by a 2011 Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC BC) report that includes Kamloops in a list of communities with inadequate outreach services and support for homeless youth. The Centre for Community-Based Youth Health Research at Thompson Rivers University has also identified youth homelessness as a priority issue in our community.
Kamloops' success as an applicant to this program can be attributed to the strength of community partnerships, committees and processes focused on addressing issues of housing and homelessness. These include the Kamloops Working Group on Homelessness (KWGH) as the Community Advisory Board responsible for allocating Homelessness Partnering Strategy funds from the federal government; the City of Kamloops as the 'Community Entity' responsible for administering and managing these federal funds in projects carried out by local service providers; the Homelessness Action Plan initiative; the Kamloops Housing Board; Changing the Face of Poverty; and the Youth Services and Housing Steering Committee.
"Our city's success in applying to be one of only two pilot communities across Canada will help bolster and strengthen community efforts to address this significant and troubling issue. This opportunity will allow us to develop a strategy to effectively address youth homelessness, and provide a model that can be used by other communities across the country," said Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar.
"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," said Christopher Phillips, Aboriginal Co-Chair for the KWGH.
"This opportunity to explore the issues facing youth in Kamloops further advances our ability to understand and create community solutions for our citizens with no place to call home," said Brenda Aynsley, Executive Director of United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo.
More information on the MLC program can be found at eva's initiatives.
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Carmin Mazzotta, Project Manager - Housing and Homelessness
City of Kamloops