North Shore Services Come Together For Homeless ‘Connect Day’
Free services are available at John Braithwaite Community Centre on Wednesday, October 16
NORTH SHORE — October 9, 2013 — A number of North Shore service organizations, local businesses, and community partners have come together to plan Homeless Connect Day, an annual event happening during North Shore’s Homelessness Action Week. Connect Day is aimed at linking people in need with support services in an environment that is welcoming and comfortable. The event is open to everyone, and will take place at the John Braithwaite Community Centre on Wednesday, October 16th from 8am to 3pm.
Additionally, there are many other special events during this coming week on the North Shore specifically for youth, seniors and families in need starting on October 10th. For the full calendar of events, please visit www.northshorehomelessness.org.
Coordinated locally by the North Shore Homelessness Task Force, this year marks the 8th anniversary of Homelessness Action Week, a Canada-wide event coordinated regionally by a coalition of community organizations and all levels of government to find solutions to homelessness. The objectives of Homelessness Action Week are to connect the homeless to resources and services, support community-led problem-solving, and to raise awareness and start the conversation around homelessness with the public.
“While our most recent homeless count in 2011 identified 120 individuals who are homeless, outreach workers count 300 or more on any given day. It’s very difficult to get firm numbers as many are couch-surfing, transient or living deep in the bush,” said Lynne Henshaw, North Shore Homelessness Task Force Coordinator. “One of our goals is to let the public know about the issues. On the North Shore, the numbers of homeless and those who are one step away are growing and this includes more families. We wish to encourage the public to learn more and get involved in helping to address these challenges together as a community.”
Connect Day will offer a host of free services at various points throughout the day, including nurse practitioners, haircuts, one-on-one foot-care, a nutritionist, diabetes testing, employment programs, income assistance help, smoking cessation and more. A free, hot Thanksgiving lunch will be provided by the North Shore Salvation Army at 1:00PM, there will also be light breakfast available starting at 8:00AM.
“Events like this are particularly important on the North Shore,” says David Newberry, Community Liaison at the Lookout North Shore Housing Centre. “Sometimes services aren’t as close together here as they might be downtown, and that can create barriers to access. Putting everything in one place, even for the day, might help connect community members to some of the medical, social, or recreational services that may normally seem out of reach.”
“We’ve received an exceptional amount of support from local businesses, service organizations, and individuals who are volunteering time and donations of goods,” Newberry added. “Vancouver Coastal Health is extremely supportive, and an entire class of BCIT nursing students will be helping out too. We’ve also had offers from hair stylists to donate their staff time, as well as food contributions of from a number of sources. It really is a testament to the generosity that exists on the North Shore.”
Still, there is always more room to help. If you would like to contribute donations or services, please contact Lynne Henshaw at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the many events taking place on the North Shore during Homelessness Action Week, including free dinners, movie nights, and community open houses, visit www.northshorehomelessness.org and follow us on Twitter: @nshomelessness.
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About The North Shore Homelessness Task Force
The North Shore Homelessness Task Force (NSHTF) was formed in 1998 in response to reports of people living outdoors. The Task Force spearheaded the establishment of the Youth Safe House and the North Shore Shelter and Transitional Housing.
Beyond the establishment of the shelters, the NSHTF meets as a service network on a regular basis to address homelessness and poverty on the North Shore. The Task Force focuses on areas related to support services, communications and information, and the continuum of housing on the North Shore. The group includes a broad range of community, government, business, and service organizations from the North Shore.
For more information about Metro Vancouver regional homelessness planning and strategies, visit www.stophomelessnesss.ca and follow the conversations on Twitter: #startwithhome.
Media and Information Contact:
North Shore Homelessness Task Force Coordinator