Nanaimo Youth Services Association will use a $25,000 infusion of cash from the Home Depot Canada Foundation to improve its Rowe House affordable rental complex.
As part of the foundation’s new Orange Door Award, the association was selected as one of four recipients in Canada and the money will be used to upgrade housing and services for youth at risk of homelessness, according to Steve Arnett, Nanaimo Youth Services Association CEO.
Arnett said approximately $10,000 will go toward research into the complex’s clients, while the remainder will go toward support for people living at the renovated heritage house on Haliburton Street.
“Some of it would go for a variety of other things that would help support young people. It might even go for a gym membership just to help [them] begin towards fitness and that sort of thing. It might go for some amenities for the house. Home Depot did some other fundraising for us and we’re going to buy a big-screen TV … for the major common area,” said Arnett.
Patrick Magee, store manager of Nanaimo’s Home Depot, said the foundation’s aim is to end youth homelessness and it sought the assistance of the Street Youth Planning Collaborative, a group of youths, some of whom have experienced homelessness, in the selection process.
“They put forward to them proposals from anyone across Canada who might be interested and who provides these types of services and had their input into who is deserving of this money,” said Magee.
Arnett is grateful for the award but said youths are the fastest-growing demographic among the homeless in the country, with an estimated 40,000 young people who are homeless.
“What we want to do is get these young people into a place where they can assume the rights and the responsibilities of full citizenship, and that’s full participation in the economic and social life of the community in a way that they feel that they’re leveraging themselves into some form of upward mobility,” said Arnett.