KINGS COUNTY – A ten-year plan on ending youth homelessness in the Annapolis Valley has received $50,000 in local funding to help make that happen.
The Rotary Clubs of Kings County Foundation announced funding April 18 in Port Williams for the Homeless No More project, headed by Portal director Russ Sanche.
And with data showing up to 70 youths are homeless on any given night in Kings County, Mud Creek rotary club president Tom Herman said funding the project was “a no-brainer.”
“We often forget [that] while our piece of the planet looks splendid to us, not everyone here experiences it in the same way,” said Herman.
Money will go to plan’s first year
Herman and foundation chair Phyllis Jarvis, were on hand to present the cheque to Sanche and other coalition members who’ve teamed up for the project.
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The coalition’s core members include Rachel Bedingfield of the Town of Kentville, Laurel Taylor of the Canadian Mental Health Association and Nancy Stewart of Nova Scotia Public Health.
These and other coalition members will work collectively on the 10-year plan, something Sanche says is vital to ensure open dialogue and input from different viewpoints.
“That’s what this is about – a group of people. I’ve never worked in a place with such a desire to listen and change,” said Sanche.
“Working together is essential for this – no one can tackle this alone.”
Data shows homelessness different for youth than adults
The funding will go towards the project’s first year during which the coalition will work towards goals like establishing host homes in lieu of an emergency shelter for youths in crisis.
It’s an alternative solution Sanche says will serve youth better than a shelter, since they experience homelessness differently than adults, and is also based on testimonials from youth across the Annapolis Valley that indicates they experience homelessness differently than adults.
“He made us aware of the need for the youth who are at risk, with no homes, who are out there couch surfing. His project to help them be homeless no more is certainly worthwhile,” said Jarvis.