If you need a home, we need to know! Count Yourself In: Metro Vancouver Homeless Count March 11-12

The Metro Vancouver Homeless Count will be held across the region from March 11-12.  We are hoping to reach everyone on the North Shore who is in need of a home.  This includes people temporarily staying at a friend’s place, in their car or at a shelter.

The survey is anonymous and voluntary, and the information we gather is critical to making sure your needs are known.

Please Count Yourself In!

Information on the Homeless Count:

The Counts are a 24-hour point-in-time snapshot and therefore the numbers are understood to be the minimum number of people who were homeless in the Metro Vancouver region during that period.

The homeless count is an important tool to better understand Metro Vancouver’s homeless population and is the best approach to determine if the homeless population is increasing or decreasing, as well as better understand trends within the population. Policy makers and community agencies have relied on the Count to inform program and service planning.

The Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness (RSCH) is grateful to all homeless-serving agencies throughout the region and the Community Homelessness Tables, who lend their expertise and knowledge of working with people on a daily basis to the Homeless Counts. The homeless count would not be possible without the assistance of hundreds of volunteers across the region.

For further details on past counts, please visit the RSCH website.

Count Yourself In Poster

Vancouver Street Soccer League – More than JUST soccer

Post by Emel Tetiker, SFU CSCD Practicum Student

The Vancouver Street Soccer League (VSSL) is more than just a soccer program, it is a way to engage with and provide a safe and fun environment for people who are homeless, at risk of being homeless or facing adversity. In a recent conversation with Charles MacGregor, founder and coach of the North Shore Salvation Army Shields team, within the VSSL, he explained the importance of providing a space for this community to talk, listen and support each other. What the league offers – an inclusive, fair play, non-competitive game of soccer, followed by a meal with teammates – provides just that. It is clear after speaking to those involved in the league, that it is indeed not the soccer, but the sense of belonging, dignity and hope instilled in participants that is central to the success of the league and the importance of this program aimed at often the most marginalized individuals in our society.

Bridging the Gap

While emergency and outreach services exist in the community to meet the essential needs of the homeless or at risk, the Vancouver Street Soccer League helps bridge the gap between those in need of support and the local service providers. Through the participation of volunteers from various sectors of the homeless outreach community, players have the ability to seek out guidance and appropriate resources. VSSL also provides a unique setting to engage with youth, often considered a high risk sector of the community, as they face the risk of what is often referred to as “aging out” of the system and loss of support services. By welcoming youth into the program through the Covenant House team, VSSL has the opportunity to help these individuals bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood through fellow player mentoring and access to support systems.

Fun, Food and Friends

At a recent presentation, Director, Dominique Falls, outlined “The Three F’s”, integral to the Vancouver Street Soccer League. First of all, the league strives to provide a fun environment to relieve players, at least temporarily, of any troubles they may be facing in day-to-day life. In this relaxed environment, players learn to trust each other, build support networks, and most importantly develop long lasting friendships, such that they may have never experienced before.

Food, the final and vital component of “The Three F’s”, is provided to players at every game and practice. As Falls, creator of the first ever women’s program, rightly notes, “You can’t ask someone to run 10 km and not provide them with food after. You can’t ask someone to come and play in a soccer tournament all day and not provide them with breakfast and lunch and dinner. “ While some meals are provided by local partnering organizations, the league is always in need of additional food or in kind donations. Falls emphasized that currently the majority of donations received by VSSL go towards food for players.

2014 Canadian Street Soccer Games

Championed by Charles MacGregor, North Vancouver will be host to the first ever Canadian Street Soccer Games from May 29-31, 2014, bringing teams from as far as Toronto and Northern BC to the North Shore. As it can be very costly to send players to the partnering Homeless World Cup each year, the Canadian games will provide players with a similar experience but on a much smaller scale.

Already generously supported by several local organizations including North Shore Salvation Army, North Shore Alliance Church and Mickey McDougall Community Recreation Centre, the league is just in need of two more player lunch sponsors. Either prepared meals or monetary donations are welcome!

Anyone interested in providing meals for or making in kind donations to the tournament or the Vancouver Street Soccer League throughout the year should contact North Shore Salvation Army Shields coach and 2014 Canadian Street Soccer Games programmer, Charles MacGregor at 604-679-1506 or c57mac@yahoo.com.

To learn more about the Vancouver Street Soccer League:

View this informative slideshow created by VSSL Director, Dominique Falls.
Visit the VSSL website
Follow VSSL on Facebook and Twitter

Call for Volunteers – 2014 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count (March 11-12)

Metro Vancouver is recruiting volunteers for the 2014 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count.  The count will take place throughout Metro Vancouver inside shelters during the evening of Tuesday, March 11, 2014 and on the streets on Wednesday, March 12, 2014.

By volunteering for the count, you are helping to gather valuable information used by governments, service providers, community groups, and funders so they can plan for appropriate programs to address homelessness and measure our progress in reducing homelessness.

We hope you will participate as a volunteer this year by completing our on-line application form by February 7, 2014.

Ideal volunteers:  

  • Have experience with previous homeless counts or professional/volunteer experience working with people who are homeless or in deep poverty
  • Are compassionate, accepting, and comfortable with one-on-one conversation
  • Have a non-judgmental attitude and a good sense of humour

What’s involved:

The Homeless Count involves identifying and conducting a brief anonymous survey with people who are homeless.  The street survey may involve walking around a neighbourhood.  The shelter survey will be conducted in an emergency shelter.  Shifts will be 2 to 3 hours and volunteers will be required to attend a 2-hour training session sometime between February 24 and March 7, 2014. We will contact you as soon as dates for training sessions are confirmed. Volunteers will work in teams of 2 and must be 19 years of age or older.

Background:

Homeless Counts in Metro Vancouver have taken place every three years since 2002 and every year in the city of Vancouver since 2010.  They provide critical information on the number and characteristics of our region’s homeless population and how this population has changed over time.

Thank you for your willingness to participate as a volunteer and your help to recruit others!  If you have any questions, please contact Leanne Carmichael at:

E: HomelessCount@metrovancouver.org

T: 604-436-6867

Please complete the on-line application form by Friday, February 7, 2014

Hunger Count 2013: 50% Needing Help from Foodbanks are Families with Children

This comprehensive report on hunger and food bank use in Canada show an in-depth report and recommendations.

In March 2013, 833,098 people were helped by food banks in Canada; over a third were children. Years after the end of the recession, food bank use remains close to record levels — and is 23% higher than in 2008, before the recession began. Read the full report: HungerCount2013_highres