Community Papers

Local fundraiser to help Covenant House

Covenant House in Downtown Vancouver was recently the beneficiary of a Hugh Boyd Secondary school fundraiser, which collected more than 1,000 pairs of socks for underprivileged youth. Now Home Depot’s Orange Door Project aims to provide homeless youth a safe and stable place to stay.  -
Covenant House in Downtown Vancouver was recently the beneficiary of a Hugh Boyd Secondary school fundraiser, which collected more than 1,000 pairs of socks for underprivileged youth. Now Home Depot’s Orange Door Project aims to provide homeless youth a safe and stable place to stay.
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For dozens of Richmond youth, finding a safe and stable place to call home hasn’t been easy over the past few years.

But Home Depot outlets across Canada are pledging to change that, with a big hand from its customers.

As part of a three-year pledge worth $10 million announced last October, Home Depot’s Orange Door Project will support renovation and repair projects and programs earmarked to provide youth access to a stable environment where they can feel safe and learn life skills.

Michelle Clausius, associate director at Covenant House Vancouver, said many Richmond youth have turned to Covenant House for help.

According to statistics, 25 youth identified themselves as from Richmond, between July 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2013.

But Clausius noted that not all youth are eager to share their histories.

“Some youth don’t say where they are from, so the number is likely higher,” she said.

The fact that Home Depot has selected Covenant House both increases public awareness of the shelter but also provides critical fundraising to operate the facility.

“It’s a great advocacy effort for us in the community, because people respect that company,” Clausius said of Home Depot.

Covenant House operates out of two buildings and operates a number of programs, including one that actively reaches out to those youth who are “street entrenched,” she said.

There’s a 54-bed shelter, which operates on a first-come-first-served basis, and is open to youth until their 24th birthday.

It also operates a Rights of Passage transitional living program for 25 young people whose lives have stabilized, but are still looking for a pathway to independence, she said.

Covenant House operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, and relies on mostly-private funding to keep afloat.

Covenant House works with other agencies and associations to improve the condition of families and children.

Through the Orange Door Project, customers shopping at Richmond’s Home Depot store can donate $2 at the checkout to purchase a paper Orange Door. The campaign runs until July 2, with 100 per cent of proceeds—also raised at the Home Depot stores in Vancouver—supporting Covenant House in Vancouver.

“The Orange Door Project is committed to putting an end to youth homelessness by providing youth with the housing and life skills they require to establish independent, productive lives,” said Peg Hunter, chair of The Home Depot Canada Foundation. “Together, with the support of our customers, we can help Canada’s most vulnerable youth realize their potential and build brighter futures.”

Homeless youth

• Youth are one of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population in Canada

• One in five shelter users in Canada are youth

• Other youth projects are planned in Nanaimo, Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George, Vernon and Chilliwack

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