FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hollyburn Youth Housing Program Expands to Toronto
Vancouver, BC. June 19th, 2013 –When Joanne first moved to Vancouver, she was on the path to becoming another at-risk youth. Jobless, homeless and with little life-survival skills, Joanne soon found herself at Covenant House where she received a new lease on life…as well as to a new apartment.
Joanne is the fourth youth to have successfully graduated from the Covenant House-Hollyburn Youth Housing Program – an arrangement where Hollyburn provides a fully furnished apartment to an at-risk young person for a year, collecting rent but returning it when the young person moves out.
“Hollyburn has provided me with the opportunity to spread my wings and better myself by being supportive of my goals. I am very grateful for this support and would like to give thanks to all at Hollyburn,” says Joanne, whose name has been changed due to privacy concerns. Joanne is now renting her apartment at full market value, an outcome that Hollyburn intended when it first established its community partnership with Covenant House 11 years ago.
The success of the Vancouver rental program has driven Hollyburn to expand the indenture to one of its rental buildings in downtown Toronto. The Toronto expansion will total four Hollyburn units dedicated to the Covenant House program, helping street youth rebuild their lives through safe, affordable housing while they transition to independent living. But as Hollyburn management bluntly puts it, rather than simply writing a cheque to charity, the company wants to see the benefits of helping people in their own neighbourhoods.
“Hollyburn hopes other property management companies will be encouraged to follow suit in this initiative of compassion, community and corporate responsibility,” says Allan Wasel, general manager of Hollyburn Properties.
Now in its 6th year of operation, the Covenant House-Hollyburn Youth Housing Program currently accommodates three young adults between the ages of 18 and 22, often homeless, runaway or at-risk. Each youth is provided with a fully furnished one bedroom or bachelor apartment at a dramatically subsidized rent. The participants also receive training on basic life skills such as budgeting, cooking, cleaning and goal setting.
Resident managers also play a pivotal role in providing guidance, structure and support to the youth, ensuring their suites are kept in order and that building rules are followed.
Upon successful completion of the program, the participants are able to keep all of the furniture in their possession and are reimbursed all of the rent they paid (depending on a positive tenant review and suite inspection).
Hollyburn Properties is one of Vancouver’s longest-standing property management companies. It is their mission to actively pursue innovative ways to raise the standard of their property management practices for the benefit of their residents, their employees and the property management industry in Canada.
Covenant House Vancouver is a non-profit agency providing programs in street outreach/daily drop-in, crisis shelter and a transitional living program for homeless and at-risk young people aged 16-22. Last year, over 1400 young people came to Covenant House looking for a way off of the street.
Associate Director, Development and Communications
Covenant House Vancouver
PR and Communications Coordinator