Spreading Warmth in Victoria – and across the country!

Amy Maxwell and James Bak


Thank you so much!

Canadian furniture and home accent retailer, Urban Barn, invites its customers to join them in blanketing the country in warmth. Beginning today, with every $5.00 donation, a brand-new Urban Barn fleece blanket will be donated to a local homeless shelter within the community. The initiative will run throughout the month of November across all 41 Urban Barn retail locations in Canada’s five most westerly provinces with a goal of donating 8,000 blankets to the cause.

 

In Victoria, the brand-new blankets will be donated to the Victoria Cool Aid Society. The VCA Society operates three emergency shelters within the region including Rock Bay Landing, which provides 84 shelter beds); Sandy Merriman House, a women’s shelter with 15 emergency beds; and Next Step Transitional shelter which provides 15 beds.

“It’s important for me and my colleagues to be part of this initiative,” shares James Bak, store associate at Urban Barn’s Victoria location. “It means we’re more than just a furniture store. We’re a family and we’re here to support our community.”

In Victoria, Urban Barn is located at 3450 Uptown Boulevard. Store hours are as follows:

  • Monday – Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday – Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

 

“We are extremely excited about this new opportunity to support those in need in our communities,” shares Linda Letts, President of Urban Barn. “This initiative is reflective of who we are as a company and as individuals. Ultimately, we each see ourselves as a member of our community and that comes with a certain level of responsibility. Our collective core values enable us to participate on a local level in a variety of ways, and ‘Blanket the Country in Warmth’ fits perfectly with our commitment to having a positive and immediate impact on the communities in which we work and live.”

To learn more about ‘Blanket the Country in Warmth’, please visit www.blanketthecountry.com

To find out more about Urban Barn, visit www.urbanbarn.com/victoria

Uptown Gives When You Do

Click here to visit Uptown's webpageNovember 15, 2012 – When you give this holiday season, you can give to help those in need at the same time!

Between now and December 24, Uptown will donate 10% of the purchase value of Uptown Gift Cards.

The 10% will be donated to the charity you chose at the time of purchase: one of Cool Aid, Victoria Hospice or the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island. Additionally, the charity with the most dollars raised will have that total doubled by Uptown.

Gift cards can be purchased at Uptown Guest Services, in the kiosk across from Starbucks, and can be issued in denominations ranging from $5 to $500. These gift cards can be cashed in at any Uptown retailer. (Please note that this does not include medical offices or Kids & Co daycare.)

Uptown is Victoria’s newest shopping centre, and is located at the intersection of Blanshard Street, Douglas Street and Saanich Road. Uptown is home to many major retailers and shops not found anywhere else in the city. For more information, please visit the Uptown website.

Greater Victoria Facility Count 2012

Our city is lucky to have some great shelter facilities, and Cool Aid is proud to run three of them. Yet even with all of the city’s dedicated facilities and emergency shelters, people in need are turned away every night.

This infographic created by the Coalition to End Homelessness is a snapshot of a single night for those in need of a safe place to sleep, and how great the need is for more shelters in our community.

Click here for a full sized image

UVic Business Students Chillin’ for Charity

Click to print out full-sized poster for display
Thank you so much to JDC West Team Gustavson for coming out to get dunked on a cold day in even colder water – all to help the Community Casual Labour Pool!

Watch the video from CTV here!

Money raised will help people who struggle with homelessness get the support and equipment they need to get back on the job site or make a good impression at job interviews.

Small things can make a big difference to helping people overcome poverty and homelessness, and getting that first job after a crisis is a huge help.

Thank you for this great event!

Discover the stories & hopes of Victoria’s homeless this season

November 27, 2012 – Steel-toed boots, nail polish, “Eclipse” on DVD and thermal underwear – this is a small cross-section of the past wish lists of Victoria’s shelter residents.  When asked, “What would you like for Christmas?”, most homeless are simply overwhelmed that someone cares enough to even pose the question.  Yet this season, volunteers are doing just that, and posting the results at www.homelesspartners.com.

Working with the Cool Aid Society, members of theShelbourne Street Church of Christ are meeting with residents at three local shelters, and asking them to share their stories, and their hopes.  Whether it’s the equipment needed to get a job, a small luxury to make things feel normal again (however briefly), a gift for an estranged teenage daughter, or another layer to keep out the cold, all of these wish list items have the power to make someone’s Christmas special.  In fact, just the knowledge that people care enough to read their stories and think about them, has a huge impact on the interviewees.  By going to the website and perusing the biographies and wish lists, Victorians have the opportunity to learn more about the individuals living on our streets, how they got there, and what a big difference something small can make.

“The hope is that we can show the homeless that they are not invisible, that they are cared for,” says Jennie Keeran, co-founder of the Homeless Partners Christmas Wish List program.  “It also allows the public to see that the homeless are not nameless or faceless, nor are they an issue.  They are individuals with different personalities and histories, that can be helped through creating this connection.”  Since 2005, this non-profit program has brought thousands of gifts to the less fortunate, and connected and touched many more hearts in cities acrossNorth America.  This is the fourth year Victoria is participating, and the hope is to serve the 100+ residents of Next Steps, Sandy Merriman House and Rock Bay Landing shelter.

If you’d like to read their stories, send them an encouraging note, or even buy them a gift, please go to www.homelesspartners.com.  Due to the short-term nature of many shelter stays, volunteers will continue to add stories to the site until mid-December, so please check for updates as Christmas Day approaches.

– 30 –

Information: www.homelesspartners.com               www.CoolAid.org/our-services/homes/shelters/

Monique Cummings / Travis Hutchinson, Shelbourne Street Church of Christ
250-592-4914, secretary@shelbournestreet.com

Jennie Keeran, Homeless Partners Co-Founder, jenniek@uniserve.com

Christine O’Brien, Victoria Cool Aid Society, Coordinator of Sandy Merriman House & Next Steps Transitional Shelter
250-480-1408, cobrien@CoolAid.org

Joann Connolly, Victoria Cool Aid Society, Coordinator of Rock Bay Landing
250-383-1951, jconnolly@CoolAid.org

Free Supper and Concert at the Downtown Community Centre

Join us for an evening of great music and tasty chili on December 15th from 5 to 9 pm. The Downtown Community Centre is proud to host the 4th annual Bandit Benefit Chili Supper & Concert – we hope to see you there!

Shelter Kitchen Renovated to Serve Seniors

December 11, 2012 – Until recently, the old Streetlink Emergency Shelter kitchen at Cool Aid’s Swift House remained vacant after the move to Rock Bay Landing. In the last few months, however, it has been completely refurbished and is now being used to serve more nutritious, more delicious and more cost-effective seniors meals than was previously possible for tenants in Cool Aid supportive housing buildings.

“When the Society vacated Streetlink Shelter, we decided to preserve the old shelter kitchen while converting the rest into 23 additional units of supportive housing,” said John Crean, manager of housing. “We’re thankful that BFI Canada helped out with a generous cash donation.”

“We got more than we bargained for,” said Cool Aid’s Red Seal Chef Ron Curran. “The kitchen needed an extensive overhaul and Cool Aid spent $45,000 on new and refurbished equipment. But every penny will be recouped through cost savings over time.”

The kitchen renovation allows the Society to centralize food services for three Cool Aid seniors buildings. By March 2013, 165 daily meals will be prepared and delivered out of Swift House. Assisted living building Hillside Terrace came on stream first on Thanksgiving and this month Cool Aid has added FairWay Woods in Langford. In 2013, Olympic Vista in Saanich will also benefit from the new food services for seniors.

“Preparing meals in the new kitchen is working very well,” said Chef Curran. “Our tenants are eating better and eating more with the improved food services. Our 30-day rotation of meals ensures a wide variety of homemade and nutritious ‘comfort’ foods that seniors enjoy. We buy and use just about all of our products fresh and make almost everything from scratch, including desserts.”

Ten thousand dollars was donated by BFI Canada, who handle Cool Aid’s recycling and waste, to help with the kitchen equipment costs. “Everyone deserves good food. BFI Canada wanted to help make life better for people in our community who have been through a lot and need support,” said Michael Tripp, BFI Canada’s district manager.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society is helping to build homes and a better community through compassionate people who provide a variety of services that improve people’s lives, including: housing, food services, health care, support, and emergency shelter. Cool Aid focuses its services for adults who are homeless or in need of help and provides assistance to over 10,000 individuals every year.

Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. is one of North America’s largest full-service, vertically integrated waste management companies, providing non-hazardous solid waste collection and landfill disposal services to commercial, industrial, municipal and residential customers in six Canadian provinces. Its major brands, IESI, BFI Canada and Waste Services, are leaders in their markets.

Cool Views #5 has arrived

Meet some of the great people that live and work at Cool Aid’s buildings, see some fabulous artwork, and find out what’s in store for 2013 in this year’s edition of Cool Views!

Click the image to view the on-line version of Cool Views #5. To receive a printed copy, contact us at volunteer@CoolAid.org, or 250-414-4799.

Some stories include:

• Very Cool Events
• Giving a Way of Life
• Varied Voices
• Cool Aid’s New HOmes
• Healing of Jerry McBride
• Meet Cool Aid’s Red Seal Chef
• Art and Home

Unacceptable

If you are on Cool Aid’s website, you probably already know that homelessness is a reality for many people in our community. To help us understand what that really looks like, the Coalition to End Homelessness has launched a series of installations showing where more and more people in our city are calling home every year.

Help spread the message that homelessness is unacceptable. Click here for the Unacceptable campaign web site, or tweet #unacceptableyyj to @homeforhope. Together, we can end homelessness.

“It’s estimated that more than 600 youth and young adults are experiencing homelessness in Greater Victoria. As many as 80% of homeless youth do not sleep rough on the streets, but are ‘hidden’. They may couch surf, or sleep in cars.” – Coalition to End Homelessness

Photo courtesy of the United Way of Greater Victoria

Fall Session @ The Atrium

Every Step Counts has seen over 480 people through its doors since February 2009. This inclusive and powerful program, a community initiative of the Victoria Foundation, has played a vital part in the health, happiness and success of many men and women who experience challenges with mental health, addiction, poverty, social isolation and other barriers. Thank you for joining us at The Fall Session at the Atrium, our culinary and musical fundraiser to benefit this key community program last Friday, October 11th2013, from 6-9 pm.

Together we raised about $10,000 for Every Step Counts! Thank you.

This year we were thrilled to have guest speaker Dick Beardsley. He is the 3rd fastest American runner in the marathon distance and he touched us all with his inspiring, honest and very intimate tale of addiction and recovery.

Thank you so much to all of the participants and their families, as well as insightful donors, steadfast volunteers and friends, referring agencies and media guests for your consistent and enthusiastic support of Every Step Counts.

Legacy Golf Tournament: Drive to End Homelessness

 Thank you so much to Raymond James, our sponsors, and all of the great teams that came out to make the first annual Raymond James Legacy Golf Tournament a success!

Find out more below, or click here to visit the photo gallery on Cool Aid’s Facebook page.

Bringing estate planning professionals together to support:

Friday, September 6th, 2013
Cordova Bay Golf Course
12:00 pm – 8:00 pm (dinner included)

COOL AID AND THE LEGACY GOLF TOURNAMENT

The Victoria Cool Aid Society builds homes, lives and community. We create opportunities for people who are homeless or living in poverty. We make a difference through housing, health care, support and emergency shelters. Founded in 1968, Cool Aid helps over 10,000 people in the Capital Region every year.

A gift or bequest to the Victoria Cool Aid Society is one of the most effective ways of leaving a legacy for a better future for all of us who call this community home.

The Cool Aid Society Legacy Golf Tournament introduces professionals who assist people with financial planning, estate planning, and wills preparation to the Cool Aid Society, our bequest program, and to the Cool Aid Endowment Fund. The “Cool Aid Housing, Health, Shelter & Community Services Fund” is an Endowment Fund administered by the Victoria Foundation on behalf of Cool Aid. This Fund supports the work of the Society and is mandated to provide emergency shelter, supported housing and community health services for people who are homeless or poor in the region.

Those who wish to direct gifts to specific Cool Aid programs may do so. Undesignated bequests to Cool Aid are directed to three priorities:

2013 Annual General Meeting

Come and join us!

We are very pleased to invite you to join us for Cool Aid’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, June 26 at the Downtown Community Centre, 755 Pandora Avenue. Refreshments will be served from 11:30 am and the business meeting starts at 12:00 noon.

We look forward to sharing what we have done this past year to build homes, lives and community, but that’s not all. Artwork and poetry composed by our program participants and tenants will also be on display, with some of the artists in attendance to talk about their work.

This year’s Annual General Meeting will also feature a panel discussion by experts on the importance of housing people first and foremost as well as connecting support services to tenants. Our panel will include Louis Amadei, John Knappett, Trudy Norman and Rob Reid.

Space is limited, so please RSVP to jcarle@CoolAid.org, or call 250-414-4783.We look forward to seeing you there!

National Case Study Highlights Cool Aid

June 12, 2013 – The Canadian Homelessness Research Network (CHRN), supported by the Homelessness Partnering Secretariat, has developed a framework to identify and share promising practices to support communities in the development of effective solutions to preventing and reducing homelessness. The Victoria Cool Aid Society’s holistic approach to providing housing and support services geared for specific needs is highlighted in a new case study released today.

Download the Study (PDF)

Description:The Victoria Cool Aid Society aims to end homelessness by working in partnership with others to develop community-based solutions. The organization operates a diverse range of social and health services for those in the community who are most vulnerable, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, mental health and employment services, and a community centre. Cool Aid works with adults who are homeless or at risk and provides assistance to over 10,000 individuals every year.

 Download the Case Study
Aussi disponible en français

 

 

 

Canadian Homelessness Research Network (CHRN) has developed a framework to identify and share promising practices in order to support communities in the development of effective programmatic solutions to homelessness in Canada. This case study is part of the promising practice framework “What Works and for Whom?”. You can access the framework and the other case studies here.

Rotarians Donate $100,000 to Community Centre Renovations

May 28, 2013 – The media joined members of the Rotary Club of Victoria for a pre-renovation tour of the Downtown Community Centre (755 Pandora) today at 1:45 pm. The Rotarians are celebrating 100 years of service in Victoria this year, in part through this lasting $100,000 capital contribution to the community. A post-renovation tour will also be open to the media in the fall to report on the transformation of the public facility, which provides critical services to people who are homeless and vulnerable in the downtown core.

Rotary Club of Victoria logo“The very generous support of the Rotary Club of Victoria has made it possible to make upgrades to the Downtown Community Centre that we have needed for many years,” said Kathy Stinson, Cool Aid’s executive director. “We have been seeking funds for these capital improvements for several years but it was only when Rotarians generously stepped up that we were able to proceed. I cannot thank them enough.”

 

The Provincial Government also provided a contribution of $34,600 for the improvements:

  • Increasing size and functionality of front entrance and lobby area including lighting
  • Replace noisy and energy-inefficient gymnasium lighting
  • Convert unused mini-stage to storage for sports and event equipment
  • Repair to gym walls and additional sound proofing
  • Complete reworking of men and women’s washroom areas including low-flush appliances, new shower facilities, baby change station, better lighting, flooring and sinks
  • Expansion of computer room and replacement of aged counters/desk structure
  • Larger janitor room
  • and more

“To honour 100 years of service in Victoria, local Rotarians wanted to make a significant contribution that would help others for many years to come,” said Rotary Club of Victoria President Rosalind Scott. “We chose the Downtown Community Centre because of its dedication to youth and adults who need help and are taking steps to improve their own health and situation.”

In the past decade alone, the Club has provided over a million dollars to a wide range of community groups and organizations touching every age group and social status. Whether it is a child requiring special medical care or equipment not provided for by health services or an organization looking for seed money to get established, the Victoria Rotary Club has been there to lend a hand.  A partial list of recipients of Victoria Rotary Club assistance includes: Read Victoria, Mustard Seed Food Bank, Rainbow Kitchen, the CNIB, Victoria Riding for the disabled, Victoria Police Victim’s Services, Esquimalt Neighbourhood House Assoc., Our Place Street Ministry, Victoria AIDS resource centre, Sooke Family Resource Centre, Fairfield Community Association, Vancouver Island Science Fair, Victoria Cool Aid Society, Prostitutes Empowerment Education and Resource Society, The Prostate Centre and the Mount St. Mary Foundation.

——–

The Victoria Cool Aid Society builds homes, lives and community. We create opportunities for people who are homeless or living in poverty. We make a difference through housing, health care, support and emergency shelters. Founded in 1968, Cool Aid helps over 10,000 people in the Capital Region every year.

Members of Rotary in Victoria are celebrating a century of “Service above Self” during 2013.  The Rotary Club of Victoria was established on Nov. 14, 1913 as the 90th club in the world.  Forty-one charter members joined Frank Higgins as the first president for the inaugural banquet at the Empress hotel.  The first secretary was Boer War veteran Capt. Tom Goodlake who held the post for 20 years before serving a term as president.  Over the years, club presidents included Victoria area mayors and several provincial members of the legislative assembly, some that were cabinet ministers.  Hockey legend Lester Patrick was president in 1921-22.

Now is the time to leave your legacy

Watch the Joyce Clearihue interview
Did you know that one of the most effective ways you can help end homelessness in Victoria is by leaving a gift to Cool Aid in your will?

If you have ever wondered how to leave a gift to your favourite charity while ensuring your life expenses and loved ones are taken care of, now is the perfect time to find out. Learn more at the Canadian Leave A Legacy web site.

What impact can your gift to Cool Aid have on homelessness, and how do other donors feel about their gifts? Click the video button to watch a short interview with Cool Aid supporter and noted philanthropist Dr. Joyce Clearihue.

Homelessness: What do Victorians think?

In our community, homelessness matters.Thanks to a recent survey commissioned by the Coalition to End Homelessness, we now have a good idea how much!

HomelessnessSurveyInfographic

To learn more, check out what other people are saying about the survey at:

Free Retail and Cashier Training Courses

at Cool Aid’s Pandora Thrift Store
715 Pandora
250-388-3500

Cool Aid and Beacon Community Services are offering a free training course at our downtown Victoria thrift store. These comprehensive courses are perfect for gaining experience and skills for your first job in retail.

The Retail Training takes place over 8 weeks, 3 days per week, from 10 am to 2 pm, and runs:

  • May 07 to June 27
  • July 02 to August 22
  • Sept 03 to October 24

The Cashier Course takes place over 3 weeks, 2 afternoons per week, on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm, and runs:

  • April 09 to April 24
  • April 30 to May 05
  • May 21 to June 05
  • June 11 to June 26

To register please call 250-388-3500.

Thank you Victoria businesses for spreading the warmth

A great big thank you to the Downtown Victoria Business Association who organized sweater and warm clothing donations for people living through these cold Victoria nights at shelters and on the street, as part of Turn Down the Heat Week. We are still bundling people up!

Thank you to the Business Association, local businesses, and all of you who donated a sweater, for spreading the warmth this year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the great local companies that participated were:

Good Planet Company
Ark@Home 
Diggit
Full Circle Studio Arts 
Global Village
Habit Atrium 
Habit Chinatown
Hemp & Company  
KOOL FM 107.3 / C-FAX 1070 / CTV
Ocean River Sports
Robinson’s Outdoor Store  
Silver Threads Service
Sitka

Annual General Meeting – June 26, 2012

Theme for 2012 AGM: Listening Learning Action

Victoria Cool Aid Society members and the general public are invited to the 2012 Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, June 26 @ noon at the Downtown Community Centre, 755 Pandora Avenue. Refreshments will be served at 11:30 am.

This year’s keynote speaker is Kelly Reid, Director, Mental Health and Addictions Services for VIHA. The theme is “Listening Learning Action”.

To join us please RSVP to Jeannette Wood, 250-414-4783, jwood@CoolAid.org.

Rotary Victoria Upgrades Downtown Community Centre

A special thank-you to the Rotary Club of Victoria for a $100,000 donation to the Downtown Community Centre – the largest service club donation in Cool Aid’s history. Their generous support has allowed the organization to make much needed capital improvements at the Downtown Community Centre – replace aging and worn linoleum throughout the Centre, purchase a new stove and replace kitchen countertops. A special thanks to all members of Rotary and the Community Needs Committee for making a difference!

Join us to celebrate this Friday, September 13th, at noon for tours and a barbecue.

Rotary Club members enjoy the courtyard with Donna & Miranda

Expanded supportive housing opens at Swift & Store

June 12, 2012 — BC Housing — People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Victoria have greater access to supportive housing with today’s official opening of the newly-expanded Swift House.

Located at 467 Swift St., the building originally contained 26 supportive apartments as well as shelter space. After opening Rock Bay Landing in 2011, and moving the emergency shelter beds to that location, Swift House was redeveloped and now offers 49 supportive housing apartments.

Swift House is managed and operated by Victoria Cool Aid Society.

The Province provided $2.45 million in construction financing for the renovations at Swift House and will provide annual operational funding of approximately $1 million for all 49 apartments.

This is the third and final project to open under an agreement between the Province and the City of Victoria to create over 170 new or upgraded units of supportive housing for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Entrance to Swift House supportive housing

Quotes:

Ida Chong, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head –“We have worked with the city to develop three new supportive housing projects for those who are homeless – Swift House, Rock Bay Landing and Camas Gardens. These projects show what can happen when we all work together and combine resources. In each of these developments are stories of transformation, strength and human resilience. They have had a remarkable impact on so many lives.”

Murray Coell, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands –“Swift House is a great example of how we can use existing resources to create housing for people in need in Victoria. Supportive housing offers people a safe home and the supports needed to change the course of their lives. We know the model works and it is making a real difference for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

Mayor Dean Fortin, City of Victoria –“Ending homelessness in Victoria is one of our top priorities. Through strong partnerships with other levels of government and local non-profit housing operators, we can make a real difference for people in need in our community. With today’s opening of Swift House, we are one step closer to achieving this goal.”

Kathy Stinson, executive director, Victoria Cool Aid Society –“At Victoria Cool Aid Society, we truly believe that by working together, we can find community-based solutions to help end homelessness. Swift House is just one example among many of how we can build an inclusive, safe community for people in need.”

Quick Facts:

  • Under the provincial housing strategy, Housing Matters BC, the government has partnerships with eight communities. The municipal partnerships will build more than 2,300 new units of supportive housing for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in B.C. (Abbotsford, Campbell River, Kelowna, Maple Ridge, Nanaimo, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria.) Construction is now underway or complete at many of the 32 housing developments.
  • Over the last decade, the Province has invested $2.8 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 97,000 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.
  • In 2010/11, the Province invested approximately $29 million to provide subsidized housing and rent supplements for nearly 4,800 households in Victoria.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region since 1968 through a wide range of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter and a casual labour pool for adults who are homeless or in need of help.

Learn More:

Visit www.bchousing.org/Initiatives/Creating/PHI to learn more about provincial programs and services to address homelessness.

To learn more about programs and services offered by the Victoria Cool Aid Society, please visit: www.CoolAid.org

Funder and Partner Survey 2012

On January 25, Cool Aid invited 120 individuals in Victoria to participate in Cool Aid’s second online funder and partner survey.

The attached summary of survey results is an easy and informative read. In addition to a synopsis of the survey results, it includes comparisons to our 2009 survey and a sampling of “take away” reflections and questions we are exploring as an organization. The report concludes with an outline of where to go from here.

The bottom-line: survey respondents gave Cool Aid a very strong rating on overall performance. We also received very favourable ratings on Organizational Leadership, Partnering & Collaboration, Client Advocacy and Client Service Experience (4 of the 5 survey themes). While respondents also gave a fairly positive rating for the Learning from Others theme, there is room here for Cool Aid to improve.

It is heartening to know that Cool Aid is well regarded by our key stakeholders. But regardless of how well Cool Aid scored in any category, there are always lessons to learn and improvements to make to ensure that we continue to meet the needs and expectations of our clients, partners, funders and other stakeholders.

A special thanks to those funders and partners who took the time to complete the survey and help Cool Aid improve its work.

May Bottle Depot Drive for Cool Aid

Bottle Depot's Charity Donation BinThanks to you and Bottle Depot we raised $2,000 together to help end homelessness in the Capital Region – thank you all very much!


May 1, 2012 – Everyone can do something to help those in our community who are homeless and vulnerable. The Victoria Cool Aid Society invites you to donate your empty bottles anytime in May 2012 at Bottle Depot outlets at 655 Queens Avenue, 4261 Glanford Avenue or 3961 Quadra Street.

Simply place all of your bottles in one of the yellow bins outside these Bottle Depot locations during May, and Cool Aid will receive the full refund.

Save time, save the environment and help end homelessness. Thank you.

Art Procession from Legacy Gallery to Access Health Centre

UVic_art_collections_logoMarch 21, 2012 – University of Victoria students will lead an art procession of works from the Legacy Gallery on Broad Street to the Access Health Centre on Johnson Street to kick off the second installment of art at the clinic. The installation includes landscape photographs, screen prints, drawings, and paintings by artists such as Courtney Milne, Torrie Groening and Roy Vickers from the University of Victoria Art Collection.

This two-year project began in 2011 by UVic History in Art professor Dr. Carolyn Butler-Palmer as an exercise in the development of art in community health and well-being. Dr. Butler-Palmer worked with more than 20 art history students, members of the Access Health Centre staff, and University Art Collection Staff to design an art installation for the clinic.

The Art Procession will leave the Legacy Gallery at 1 pm on Thursday, March 22nd, 2012, and will make its way up Yates to Douglas Street, then follow Douglas to Johnson St. Our destination is the Access Health Centre at 713 Johnson St., Victoria B.C., and our estimated time of arrival is 1:15 pm.

Media Contacts:

  • Dr. Butler Palmer (Williams Legacy Chair and Assistant Professor in Modern and Contemporary Arts of the Pacific Northwest) at 250-721-7943
  • Irene Haigh-Gidora at 250-385-1466 or ihgidora@CoolAid.org
  • Cheryl Robinson, Legacy Gallery Secretary, at 250-381-7645

Website for Access Health Centre: www.CoolAid.org/health and www.AccessHealthCentre.ca

Website for the Legacy Gallery: www.legacygallery.ca

Executive Director Wins Collaboration & Partnership Award

United Way of Greater Victoria Award

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director, Victoria Cool Aid SocietyFebruary 21, 2012 – Cool Aid’s executive director, Kathy Stinson, has been providing leadership in the not-for-profit and public sectors since 1989. As executive director of Victoria Cool Aid Society from 2005, Kathy’s work has helped to build the capacity of Greater Victoria to identify and confront some of the key challenges we face.

Whether leading initiatives like the creation of the Access Health Centre or working collaboratively with community groups like the Downtown Service Providers or theCoalition to End Homelessness, Kathy has a talent and passion for bringing people together and making good things happen, helping create a better future for our community.

 

From The Victoria Leadership Awards booklet.

Poetry Rocks / Peers Victoria Book Launch

Voices_from_the_edge_poetry_bookFebruary 2, 2012 – Come hear a group of poets from Peers Victoriaand Cool Aid’s Rock Bay Landing shelter; who write a unique visceral poetry from the banks of the mainstream.

Meet the poets, and hear their words, at the book launch of “Voices from the Edge”, at Mocha House, 1633 Hillside, on Friday, February 10th, starting at 7:30 pm. $3 admission. Books and CDs available.

All proceeds will support creative projects for Peers and Cool Aid clients.

 

Information:

 

www.CoolAid.org/publications/Cool_Views_4.pdf

www.ekstasiseditions.com/recenthtml/voices.htm

Books available at Cool Aid’s administration office, 102-749 Pandora Avenue, 250-383-1977.

Dvora Levin, 250-595-2246, devlin@telus.net

Don McTavish, Cool Aid, 250-383-1951, dmctavish@CoolAid.org

Megan Lewis, Peers Victoria Resource Society, 250-385-5325 x105, mlewis@peers.bc.ca

Cool Views #5 – 2013

Meet some of the great people that live and work at Cool Aid’s buildings, see some fabulous artwork, and find out what’s in store for 2013 in this year’s edition of Cool Views!

Click the image to view the on-line version of Cool Views #5. To receive a printed copy, contact us at volunteer@CoolAid.org, or 250-414-4799.

Some stories include:

• Very Cool Events
• Giving a Way of Life
• Varied Voices
• Cool Aid’s New HOmes
• Healing of Jerry McBride
• Meet Cool Aid’s Red Seal Chef
• Art and Home

 

 


 

Cool Views #4 – December 2011

 

Cool_Views_4_cover

Issue # 4 features the voices of Cool Aid’s clients, staff and volunteers as it reviews some of the new and old housing buildings at Cool Aid and some of the services that help people stay in their apartments. Click on the cover to download the PDF for reading.

Email  volunteer@CoolAid.org if you want to be mailed a printed copy or a stack to give away. Your location can also be added to our regular distribution list by request. If you have an idea for an article, photos or images that speak to Cool Aid and its services feel free to contact Alan Rycroft.

Stories include:

  • From streets and boats to Swift House
  • My REES experience: a volunteer’s observations
  • 225,000 nutritious meals served last year
  • Why I love Every Step Counts
  • Every Step Counts for women
  • Poetry Rocks the Landing
  • Sam Charlie – salt of the earth
  • Paula Miller and the Toonie Group
  • Leave A Legacy? I’m not a millionaire!
  • Facts and Figures, Special corporate gifts

Cool Views # 3 – Focus on new shelter & housing
December 2010

Cool Views # 3 front cover

Issue # 3 highlights the many new services that Cool Aid has launched this year and the hundreds of new patients served at the Access Health Centre. Click on the cover to download the PDF for reading.

 

Stories include:

* New Shelter Opens – Rock Bay Landing
* Access Health Centre Services 1,500 More Clients
* Voice Mail Service – Just $6/Month
* Health Centre Staff Build Patio Paradise
* Cool Aid Opens Queens Manor and More Housing
* Remembering Herman Rebneris
* Cool Aid Dental Clinic Gives Back Smiles
* Chronic Health Management Physician Volunteers
* Leaving A Lasting Legacy for Cool Aid’s Clients
* Cool Donations and Did You Know facts

 

 


Cool Views # 2, December 2009

 Cool Views # 2

Focus on mental health and employment

December 2009

The second issue of the new Cool Views journal focuses on the mental health, addiction and employment services of Cool Aid’s Rees program, located at 707 Johnson Street.

Click on the front cover or here to pick up the latest copy of Cool Views.

Articles this issue include:

  • Access Health Centre opens its doors
  • The Mentoring Project
  • Did you know? (Rees facts)
  • An oasis in the heart of downtown (community activity centre)
  • Fiona Hyslop – a woman of conviction
  • Extreme weather shelter
  • Community Casual Labour Pool
  • The unfolding story of artist Tony Van Deven
  • A brief history of Cool Aid
  • 40 Years of Cool Aid Culture DVD
  • New Thrift Shop downtown

Active Image

Cool Views # 1

Focus on the Access Health Centre
May 2009

A new periodical called Cool Views has just been published by the Victoria Cool Aid Society to highlight its many health, housing, shelter and support services for community members who are homeless and vulnerable. You can pick up Cool Views online orcontact our office to have one or many mailed to you or your organization.

The premiere issue focuses on Cool Aid’s community health services and the new Access Health Centre now under construction at 713 Johnson Street downtown.

 

Twestival Victoria 2011 Raises $7,700 for Cool Aid

March 31, 2011 – $7,700 was raised by the good people (tweeps) who attended this year’s Twestival Victoria at the Bengal Lounge. The money will be used to purchase five new computers, a screen and a printer for public computer and Internet access at the Downtown Community Centre and also to provide nutritious lunches for 45 women at Sandy Merriman House for five weeks. Thanks so very much to the organizers and donors!!!

If you would like to follow some of the tweople connected to this event, you can find them at:

Twestival Victoria 2011 – We want to thank you all for nominating so many of the amazing charities that can be found here in Victoria.  Our decision was very difficult, as there were so many deserving candidates.

After much discussion and deliberation, we chose to nominate the Victoria Cool Aid Society as the beneficiary of the funds raised for Twestival 2011.  Every dollar from ticket sales and donations will go directly to support two Cool Aid programs: public access computers and lunches for the women at Sandy Merriman House.

When: Thursday, March 24 @ 7-11 pm
Where: Empress Hotel – Bengal Lounge
Why: Meet social media aficionados, have fun, raise $$$ for Cool Aid

Support Public Access Computers & Internet

Public access computers and Internet allows people who are homeless and marginalized to stay in touch with friends, family and prospective landlords and employers. We have computers at three sites (Downtown Community Centre, REES Program for mental health and employment, and the new Rock Bay Landing emergency shelter). The funds from Twestival would be used to purchase new computers, new internet accounts, new software, and new hardware for the people we serve.

Here are some examples of costs to replace the very old computers with new equipment:

  • Software for a new computer – $75
  • Internet Access – $80 per month
  • New screen – $190
  • Public access printer (desktop) – $225
  • New computer – $600
  • Public access printer (network printer) – $1,800

Help Feed Hungry Women

Another possible focus is to help feed the women at Sandy Merriman House emergency shelter – which was the focus of our latest direct email to our supporters. You may have seen the @VicCoolAid Tweets about it:

Last year, Cool Aid provided 225,000 nutritious meals for clients at our shelters, seniors in supportive housing and participants in the Every Step Counts running program. Sandy Merriman House provides 45 women with a healthy lunch each day through their drop-in program, where many women with nowhere to stay have come to depend on the food, showers, laundry, counselling and more.

  • $75 feeds five women with a nutritious lunch for a week
  • $150 feeds ten women for a week
  • $700 provides all the food for all 45 women for seven days
  • $3,000 covers a full month’s food costs

We’re thrilled to be able to work with the amazing tweople here in #YYJ, and we’re proud to be able to support an outstanding charity like the Victoria Cool Aid Society.

If you would like to read more about this society, visit them at www.CoolAid.org.

If you would like to follow some of the tweople connected to this event, you can find them as:

Thank you again to all of the nominees for this year’s event.  Keep working with Twitter, and you never know – maybe next year your charity will be tweeting all about it.

Every Step Counts Marks 2nd Anniversary with TC 10K

Logo of the Every Step Counts running and walking program

TC 10K Charity Run

>> Are you ready for to make a healthy lifestyle change?
>> Are you struggling with the winter blues?
>> Are you feeling guilty about veering off track from your New Years resolution?
>> Do you want to contribute to a good cause and be a part of an inclusive and positive team?

If you have answered YES to any of the above questions, then it’s time to take that first step in making Every Step Count!

Join the Every Step Counts walking/running/skipping team for the TC 10K on Sunday May 1, 2011.

Let’s make Every Step Count by raising money to support this innovating walking and running program for marginalized people experience challenges with mental health, addictions and homelessness.
SIGN UP NOW.

Register at www.tc10k.ca/registration under INDIVIDUAL REGISTRATION. Make sure to select EVERY STEP COUNTS on the pull down menu when asked for your Club/Team or School Name.

Once you have registered as an official Every Step Counts team member email Gillie at geasdon@CoolAid.org to receive your Pledge Package, and start raising awareness and funds for Every Step Counts.

For more information check out our website at www.CoolAid.org/esc.

 


 

February 22, 2010 – For over two years, Every Step Counts, a unique running program founded by the Victoria Foundation and hosted at the Victoria Cool Aid Society, has been helping people grow health, confidence and community participation.  Established as an opportunity for individuals who have experienced challenges with addiction, mental health, poverty, homelessness and other social issues, the program provides an opportunity to connect and take part in physical exercise. Since 2008, 42 runners have also moved on to educational programs and employment.

On Tuesday, February 22, Every Step Counts held a private TC 10K Rally with participants and runners from the Victoria Foundation and Cool Aid. The event will serve to celebrate two years of the program’s success as well as kick-off the 75th Anniversary running team of the Victoria Foundation. Local VIPs coming out to support the Victoria Foundation – Every Step Counts TC 10K running teams include:

* Jasper Blake – Canadian Ironman Champion

* David Calder – Olympic Canadian silver medalist – rowing

* Bruce Deacon – Olympic Canadian marathoner

* Jacqui Sanderson – TC 10K Race Director

Members of the public who would like to join the Victoria Foundation team and support Every Step Counts are invited to sign up online www.tc10k.ca/registration or call the Foundation at 250-381-5532.

Total individual runs have reached 5,000 by over 200 participants as Every Step Counts enters its third year. The program adds value to the runs through additional activities such as nutritious post-run snacks, nurse visits and monthly wellness talks.

This year the Victoria Foundation celebrates its 75th Anniversary. Since 1936 the generosity and commitment of donors has enabled the Victoria Foundation to fulfill its vision of connecting people who care with causes that matter®. The connections that the Foundation has with the charitable sector make us the go to resource centre for community philanthropy and they allow us to respond to the needs in our community through leadership, stewardship and granting.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for over 42 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, emergency shelter, community health and dental services, employment services, mental health support and recreation and exercise programs for adults who are homeless or in need of help. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

Camosun, Conservatory & Vic High R&B Benefit for Access

For the second year in a row, the Victoria Conservatory of Music and the Vic High R&B band are teaming up with Camosun College students for the ACP Concert Series.

Friday, February 18, 2011 and Friday, February 25, Vic High and the Conservatory, respectively, will take the stage at Camosun’s historic Gibson Auditorium. Both nights will be videotaped by students of the Applied Communication Program, under the guidance of their instructor and program chair, Andy Bryce. After the final pieces are edited together, the DVDs are given to the performers to use as a keepsake or as demonstration pieces.

“All proceeds from the events will go directly to Victoria’s Access Health Centre, and we wanted a good local organization to support,” says Brett Blair, one of the event coordinators.“The Access Health Centre is a perfect example of collaboration and improvement to community services, and was chosen as our beneficiary for these reasons.”

Camosun's ACP Concert series benefits Access Health Centre

“This is a great opportunity for students from School District 61 and Camosun College to collaborate on an exciting and fun show,” says Bryce.

The doors open both nights at 6:30, with the show getting underway at 7:30. Tickets will be available at the door — $5 cash only — and can be reserved via the event’s Facebook page (ACP Concert Series —ACPconcertseries@gmail.com ).

***

For more information or to schedule an interview with Andy Bryce or another member of the concert series, please contact Amanda Richardson at 250-886-1668 or ama_richardson@hotmail.com.

3rd Annual Winter Coat Giveaway

Coat give-away Friday, January 21, 2011

This year marks the 3rd Annual Winter Coat Giveaway for Cool Aid’s Community Casual Labour Pool. Thank you for donating your winter coats, jackets and sweaters to those less fortunate. Mittens, gloves, hats, socks and blankets were also warmly received. A special thanks to the Hillside Centre and Cool Aid’s Labour Pool who accepted donations.

The next great coat and clothes give-away is on Friday, February 4 @ 1 pm – 2:45 pm at the Downtown Community Centre, 755 Pandora Avenue.

Cool Aid Receives Large Estate Gift “for Christmas”

To Support Endowment and Access Health Centre

Funeral card of Leslie Magill AndrewsDecember 21, 2010 – Today, the Victoria Cool Aid Society received a generous gift of $84,554.88 from the late Leslie Magill Andrews – who remembered people in our community who are homeless and marginalized in her will. Ms. Andrews was not known by the Society and had not previously donated to the organization. Cool Aid will receive an additional amount in a future year from her beloved pets’ trust fund after her dogs pass away. The gifts flow from a portion of the sale of her Shawnigan Lake home as well as other assets.

“We are genuinely surprised and so very grateful that such a generous woman – whom none of us knew – thought of Cool Aid’s clients in her will,” said executive director Kathy Stinson. “Leslie Magill Andrews’ thoughtful bequest, a portion of her overall estate, shows by example the true spirit of Christmas giving. She challenges all of us to think of others less fortunate at this time of year and at the end of our lives.”

According to her obituary: “Leslie Magill Andrews [July 5, 1956 to February 3, 2007], was born in Tokyo to Leslie Bratton Andrews and Richard Magill Andrews, Jr. Her maternal grandfather was Colonel Rufus S. Bratton, Chief of the Far Eastern Section of the Intelligence Branch of the Military Intelligence Division (G-2) in the US War Department, and was instrumental in deciphering the transcripts from the Japanese government to the Japanese ambassador on December 7, 1941, the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Her paternal great-grandfather, William Henry Andrews, was appointed American Consul to Hankow (modern day Wuhan) in 1890. Her paternal grandfather, Richard Magill Andrews, Sr., was an American trained mining engineer raised in Japan. The family company, Andrews & George, imported machinery from the US into Japan and it is purported that it imported the first motor vehicle into Japan.”

Her bequest will be spent in ways that enrich the lives of the poorest people in the region:

  1. $50,000 will help pay for the reconstruction of the Access Health Centre – a new community partnership that serves over 6,000 patients and clients annually. One of Cool Aid’s seven medical examination rooms will be named in her honour. Including other recent gifts of over $25,000 (and growing) in December from Cool Aid supporters, $20,000 from Coast Capital Savings, a memorial gift of $5,000 honouring Dr. Henry Ross from J.R. Shaw (Shaw Communications), and $2,000 from the Rotarac Club of Victoria (young Rotarians at the University of Victoria) – the Access Health Centre is now just over $800,000 short of its $5.3 million campaign goal.
  2. The Cool Aid Endowment Fund, managed by the Victoria Foundation, will receive $30,000 of the bequest – to support the Cool Aid’s housing, shelter, health care and other services in perpetuity.
  3. The remaining $4,500 will be invested in promoting bequests (a donation left in one’s will) and other gifts, such as appreciated stocks, to the Victoria Cool Aid Society.

“The unusually large estate gift inspired Cool Aid’s volunteer Board of Directors to establish a new policy for the investment of bequests and planned gifts,” said Kathy Stinson. Cool Aid will now utilize undesignated bequests over $5,000 as follows to ensure that life-end gifts continue to help the community for many, many years:

  • 30% or more will be invested in the Cool Aid Endowment Fund
  • 30% or more will help build capital projects such as housing and the
    Access Health Centre
  • Up to 10% will be used to promote others making planned gifts and bequests

The Victoria Cool Aid Society is among over 80 organizations which have entrusted their funds to the Victoria Foundation. “The Victoria Foundation is honoured to receive an endowment contribution from the Victoria Cool Aid Society through this generous bequest from the late Leslie Magill Andrews,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation.  “By adding to their endowment fund, organizations such as Cool Aid are investing in their future, building assets, moving towards greater strength and building capacity. We are proud to assist them in their efforts to make our community and our province the best it can be.”

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for over 42 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, emergency shelter, community health and dental services, employment services, mental health support and recreation and exercise programs for adults who are homeless or in need of help. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

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Information:    www.CoolAid.org/donate

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director, Cool Aid
250-383-1977

Shannon Drew-Burrows, Director of Communications, Victoria Foundation
shannon@victoriafoundation.bc.ca

McGregor Socks Gives Another 7,500 Pairs for Local Homeless

December 10, 2010 – Congregation Emanu-El’s social action group, Avodah, announced today that McGregor Socks (Toronto) has donated another 7,500 pairs of socks en route for homeless and poor people in the Capital Region.  This brings to 33,000 the total number of pairs of socks that McGregor Socks has donated to the Capital Region since 2005!

There are two opportunities for the media to cover this extraordinary commitment of a national company to people in Victoria who are homeless:
Volunteers from Avodah and Mayor Dean Fortin will make a short announcement at 2:30 pm about the socks to people attending the Our Place Christmas Party today at First Metropolitan United Church,  932 Balmoral Road.

The population groups served by the Access Health Centre are much more susceptible than the general population to foot-related diseases and ailments. On Monday, December 13 @ 2:30 pm, a nurse from the Cool Aid Community Health Centre (713 Johnson Street) will discuss the critical importance of healthy feet and quality socks for people without homes who are subject to the rain and cold and whom spend a great deal of their time standing.

The socks will be distributed to the following  social service providers, who will give them out to the people who need them most:  AIDS Vancouver Island, Out of the Rain Youth Night Shelter,  Burnside Gorge Community Association, James Bay Community project/Youth Clinic, Kiwanis Emergency Youth Shelter, Native Friendship Centre, Our Place, Pacifica Housing Service, PEERS, Rainbow Kitchen, REES Program, Rock Bay Landing, Single Parent Resource Centre, Cool Aid Health Clinic, Sandy Merriman Shelter, VARCS Mobile X Van, YM/YWCA Outreach and the Extreme Weather shelters.

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Information:

Michael Bloomfield, Avodah, Congregation Emanu-El, 250-380-3001, bloom@islandnet.com
Rick Hastings, McGregor Industries, 604-417-1226, rick@hastingsagencies.com
Irene Haigh-Gidora, Manager of Health Services, Cool Aid, 250-385-1466, ihgidora@CoolAid.org

Background

McGregor Socks is a subsidiary of McGregor Industries, Toronto.  McGregor was founded in 1928 by the Lipson family and today is still led by third-generation family members.  The companies’ major source of revenue is from developing and marketing better men’s and women’s socks.  The company distributes a wide range of products through an extensive international sales network, with 10,000 points of sale in over 30 countries. Info:www.mcgregorsocks.com

Congregation Emanu-El, built in 1863, is Canada’s oldest synagogue in continuing use.  In 2003, Rabbi Harry Brechner created the Avodah social action group to turn Congregation Emanu-El’s beliefs into acts of loving kindness.  Avodah — working closely with social service agencies — has focused on serving its neighbours who are most in need in Victoria, particularly homeless youth and adults. In addition to the socks initiative, other activities include providing shelter and hot meals for the Out of the Rain youth night shelter, putting on monthly birthday parties at Our Place and supporting families at risk of homelessness through rent supplements. Info:www.congregation-emanu-el.org

Victoria Cool Aid Society provides primary health care services, supported housing, emergency shelter, mental health support and job placements to adults and youth who are marginalized.  Info: www.CoolAid.org

 

A Few Socks and Health Facts

  • When you do not have a home, you spend much of your time standing in lines.  It is hard to keep your feet warm and dry and your feet suffer a lot of abuse.
  • Good clean socks help prevent both fungal infections and blisters.
  • Prevention of blisters prevents secondary foot infections that require antibiotic treatment.
  • A patient with a foot fungal infection is encouraged to change into clean socks frequently.
  • Good socks are more important for those who suffer with neuropathy in their feet, like diabetics, and those with AIDS neuropathy, as they have reduced sensation and cannot feel when they are developing sores and blisters.

Discover the stories and hopes of Victoria’s homeless this season

Shelbourne Street Church of Christ – Victoria – Giving the perfect gift is such a great feeling, and every year we rack our brains and scour the malls for this very reason.  It’s also a great feeling to help those who are less fortunate than us, and every year there are a myriad of wonderful ways we can make a difference.  Well this year, we all have the opportunity to do both, with the Homeless Partners Christmas Wish List which is found atwww.homelesspartners.com.

A toque, some socks, a moment of your time… these are some of the simple things that would warm the hearts of our city’s homeless. The Victoria Cool Aid Society and Shelbourne Street Church of Christ are joining forces on this project where we ask the residents of several shelters to share their experiences and hopes with us, and select a few items that they would appreciate as Christmas gifts. These stories and wish lists are then put on the web (under the residents’ first names), where people can read them and decide if they’d like to buy a gift for one of the specific shelter residents.  The gifts are then dropped off at the Church building and delivered in time for Christmas.

“The response last year was overwhelming,” said Monique Cummings, project coordinator from the Shelbourne Street Church of Christ.  “Everyone was so generous and understood not only how much it meant to simply read the stories or send an encouraging Christmas card, but also what an impact it would have on the residents to give their son or daughter exactly what they’d asked for, or to get a pay-as-you-go cell phone and be able to put a contact number other than the shelter on their resume.”

The purpose of this initiative is to show the homeless that they are not invisible, that they are loved.  It also allows people to see that the homeless are not a nameless, faceless, insurmountable issue, but individuals with different personalities and histories, that can be helped in this simple way.

Homeless Partners is a non-profit, self-funded program run entirely by volunteer efforts, in partnership with the staff at shelters where the program is offered. The program is coordinated by a small number of individuals, who assist volunteers from local churches in starting and running the program in their city. Since 2005, the project has brought thousands of gifts to the less fortunate and touched many more hearts in cities across North America.  This is the second year Victoria is participating, and we hope to serve the 100+ residents of Next Steps, Sandy Merriman House and the new Rock Bay Landing shelter.

“We are hoping to connect people personally and directly with the homeless, to raise awareness of both the problem and the vast amount of work going into a solution by wonderful associations like Cool Aid,” said Cummings.  “Even if we don’t collect a single present, we’ll have succeeded if people spend even five minutes reading the stories we’ve been fortunate enough to record.”

Members of the public can help by visiting www.homelesspartners.com to learn more, reading the stories, buying gifts or volunteering to interview shelter residents or update the website.  Due to the short-term nature of many shelter stays, we’ll continue to add stories to the site until mid-December, so please check for updates as Christmas Day approaches.

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Information:    www.homelesspartners.com         www.CoolAid.org/shelter

Monique Cummings, Victoria Project Coordinator, Shelbourne Street Church of Christ
250-592-4914, secretary@shelbournestreet.com

Jennie Keeran, Project Founder
jenniek@uniserve.com

Christine O’Brien, Victoria Cool Aid Society
Coordinator of Sandy Merriman House & Next Steps Transitional Shelter
250-480-1408, cobrien@CoolAid.org

Every Carb Counts Dinner with Grammy & Juno Award Winning Dan Hill

2nd Annual Every Carb Counts Dinner with “Sometimes when we touch”

Grammy and Juno Award Winning Singer/Songwriter Dan Hill

Active ImageOctober 5, 2010 – Victoria Cool Aid Society and Victoria Foundation are pleased to announce the Every Carb Counts benefit dinner this Friday at the Hotel Grand Pacific. Proceeds from the dinner and an auction will support the Every Step Counts running and walking program for people experiencing challenges with housing, mental health, poverty and other barriers.

As one runner said: “I heard about Every Step Counts when I was in Stabilization [withdrawal management]. I was physically debilitated – I had a couple of bad years. I gave it a try, and now I am training for my first half marathon. Thank you Every Step Counts!”

Hosted by CBC’s Paul Kennedy and Rob Reid from Frontrunners, Every Carb Counts will feature Grammy and Juno award winning singer/songwriter Dan Hill. The delicious buffet dinner is being held at the Hotel Grand Pacific this Friday, October 8th (6:30 pm reception, 7 pm dinner). The dinner will also help Every Step Counts runners and other participants “carbo load” prior to Sunday’s Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon events on Sunday. The event is alcohol free.

In addition to the buffet dinner, a silent auction will feature a wide selection of great, donated gifts and treats including:

  • Two nights and three days at beautiful Heron House on Quadra Island
  • 14K gold bracelet (value: $900) from Van Island Jewellers
  • Spa package with Fish haircut, body work, and Lush Cosmetics
  • Bosley’s gigantic gourmet doggie baskets
  • Golf package for four at Cordova Bay
  • Mini vacation on Salt Spring Island courtesy of Wave Hill Farm and Apple Tree Restaurant
  • Scrumptious meals from Devour, Foo Asian Street Food and others
  • Running clinic packages from Frontrunners
  • Much, much more

The Every Carb Counts buffet dinner and silent auction is a great way to meet and support the wonderful runners of Every Step Counts. Tickets are $45 each or $400 for a table of ten. Consider also buying a ticket for one of 30 runners attending. Tickets are available at:

  • New Balance (1205 Government Street)
  • Victoria Cool Aid Society Administration (102-749 Pandora in the walkway)
  • Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut (621 Broughton)

To reserve your space, or for information, call 250-383-1977, visit a location above, or visitwww.CoolAid.org/goodlife . Tickets will also be available at the door.

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Information:     www.danhill.com * www.CoolAid.org/esc * www.victoriafoundation.bc.ca/web/node/385

Brittany McConneghy, 250-882-5261, bmcconneghy@CoolAid.org
Rob Reid, 250-216-2305, rob@frontrunners.ca
Shannon Drew-Burrows, 250-381-5532, Shannon@victoriafoundation.bc.ca
Nikki Harris, n_harris@rogers.com (Dan Hill interviews)

Cool Aid Condemns Vandalism Against Mayor Fortin and Family

November 5, 2010 – Media Advisory – The Victoria Cool Aid Society unequivocally condemns today’s misguided attack against the car and home of Mayor Dean Fortin and his family. Mayor Dean Fortin is one of the best friends of people in our community who are homeless and poor.

The self-described “militant” protesters have personally attacked the Mayor who has done more than any other municipal politician to provide housing and shelter to those in our community who deserve this basic human right.

Cool Aid calls on the caring community of citizens in Victoria to support Mayor Dean Fortin, the City of Victoria and others who are working hard to build new housing and temporary shelter and to continue to work to end homelessness in the Capital Region. We ask citizens not to lose faith because of the misguided actions of a few.

Although 85 temporary shelter beds have been lost in the last week, there is in fact a significant increase of permanent services available in our community as of November 1. As well an additional 80 units of permanent supported housing will be available early in the new year thanks to the Province, BC Housing, the Capital Regional Hospital District and the City of Victoria  – all partners in the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.

Rock Bay Landing – Net increase of 4 permanent shelter beds, 23 modest transitional apartments and 2 units of family shelter. New service capacity = +32 sheltered and housed (assuming 5 people in the 2 family units).

Queens Manor – Net increase of 36 supportive housing apartments available for adults, couples and people with pets. Assuming 20% occupancy by couples, capacity = +43

Extreme Weather Protocol – Additional capacity of 165 temporary mats during very cold and wet weather. For details visit www.vewp.net.

Divine Shelter – Loss of 40 temporarily funded shelter mats.

Salvation Army – Loss of 30 temporarily funded shelter mats.

Streetlink Shelter – Loss of 15 temporarily funded shelter beds.

Altogether 59 units of housing (Rock Bay Landing and Queens Manor) plus 6 shelter beds (new permanent and family beds) are a significant improvement on the 70 temporary mats at Divine Shelter and the Salvation Army and 15 beds at Streetlink which have closed down except during extreme weather conditions. These permanent additions to house people who have been homeless in our community will accommodate 75 people*, including couples and families.

Additionally, up to 165 temporary shelter mats are available and funded in our community for the worst weather of the season through the Victoria Extreme Weather Protocol coalition.

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Information:               www.CoolAid.org         www.vewp.net 

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director
250-383-1977

* 59 apartments + 4 permanent shelter beds + 5 people in two family shelter units + 7 couples at Queens Manor


Downtown Service Providers Condemn Vandalism Against Mayor & Family

November 5, 2010 – Victoria – The Downtown Service Providers unanimously and unequivocally condemn today’s vandalism attack against Mayor Dean Fortin and his family.

The disturbing acts of the few self-described “militant” protesters are based on misinformation and have the potential to damage the work of everyone in the community working together to end homelessness.

The “militants” claim 72 shelter mats on the floor have been lost.

In fact, a net of 153 mats are gained whenever the Extreme Weather Protocol is in effect, during the worst of winter weather.

60 temporary mats on the floor have been permanently replaced by much better supportive housing and staffed shelter beds.

On days when the Protocol is not in effect, a net of 12 mats have been lost.

Additionally, 80 units of permanent supportive housing will also be available early in the new year thanks to the Province, BC Housing, the Capital Regional Hospital District, the City of Victoria, Pacifica Housing and Victoria Cool Aid Society  – all partners in the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.

The Downtown Service Providers ask that citizens support Mayor Dean Fortin, the City of Victoria, other levels of government and non-profit organizations who are working together to end homelessness. We must not be distracted in our important work because of the misguided actions of a few.

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Information:

Rev. Al Tysick, Chair
250-388-7112

Zolabud CD Release Party & Benefit

with special guests: Children of Celebrities

  • Proceeds shared with Victoria Cool Aid Society
  • Thursday, November 11 @ 8 pm
  • Logan’s Pub, 1821 Cook Street
  • $8 at the door

Active ImageSumptuous songs swimming in beefy-tasty grooves…just what a listener wants and needs.  ZOLABUD is an essential part of a complete musically balanced diet. Containing 22 vitamins and minerals plus 10 different proteins in every delicious mouth-watering morsel.  No trans fats! Recipe: mix 2 cups of THINKING, add one cup of PUNISH, and a tablespoon of ROUGH EDGES and there you have it…one freshly baked ZOLABUD!  We are hot out of the oven and are best served fresh on a stage near you.  So come on by and sample our goodies…your ears will be glad you did.  You can’t deny the yummy sounds of ZOLABUD!!!

Hailing from Victoria, BC, Children of Celebrities offer an original acoustic music that draws upon folk, roots, country and bluegrass and presented in a unique and refreshing way.

“Long-time favourites in their native Victoria, BC, these fun-loving, self-described ‘pseudo-middle-aged guys’ play the kind of music tailor-made for the Canadian folk festival circuit. These are self-effacing acoustic tunes that are easy on the ears, with just enough hints of bluegrass to show off each member’s prowess on their chosen instrument.”

– Jason Schneider, “Wood, Wires and Whiskey”, exclaim.ca (February, 2010)

 “Children of Celebrities inhabit that nebulous middle ground between country, bluegrass and whatever it is that Tom Waits does.”

Monday Magazine

Both bands are loaded with Cool Aid talent and energy (some of their lead talent have day “gigs” with Cool Aid).

See them, hear them online first – see you there in person!

www.zolabud.com

www.childrenofcelebrities.com

ROMS BC Charity Golf Tournament Raises $1,614

June 6, 2010 – Members of the Rental Owners & Managers Society of British Columbiaraised $1,614 for Cool Aid’s Next Steps transitional shelter this weekend in a golf tournament. Last year, ROMS BC members donated $860 and a $350 gift certificate from Empress Painting was donated by the winners, Phil and Lois Smith, during the golf tournament.

The money will be used to help the 15 clients of Next Steps transitional shelter Active Imageto access the resources and services they need to get their lives back on track.

Thank you everyone for brightening up the lives of our residents!

Oak Bay Tea Party’s Mad Hatter Fun Run

In Support of the Victoria Cool Aid Society

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We’re Going To Rattle Some Tea Cups!

The Victoria Cool Aid Society’s women’s shelter and  Every Step Counts running program have joined forces with the Oak Bay Tea Party’s Mad Hatter Fun Run to raise awareness of our region’s homeless community and their personal care needs.

The Mad Hatter Fun Run and Relay will take place immediately before the Oak Bay Tea Party parade on Saturday, June 5, starting at Windsor Park and ending at Willows Beach. The Fun Run is 3 K along the parade route and baby joggers are also welcome. Teams of up to four people are invited to participate as a relay.  Registration starts at 9:45 am with the Run starting at 10:15.

Registration forms can be picked up at Frontrunners or New Balance.  In addition to a small entry fee, participants are asked to bring personal care items to donate to the Cool Aid Society’s shelter program.

Registration forms are available at Frontrunners at their Victoria and Langford locations and at Bellla on Johnson. Registration fees and donations can be dropped off at these locations or at the registration desk on the day of the Fun Run.

The Mad Hatter Fun Run was started in 2003 by Rob Reid, owner of Frontrunners, and typically attracts over 100 participants each year.

 

Victoria Cool Aid Society – Shelter Program

Cool Aid operates two front-line emergency shelters: Streetlink and Sandy Merriman House for women. Both shelters offer food and hygiene services designed to meet the very basic needs of the most marginalized members of our community: the homeless, homeless-at-risk, and the street-entrenched.

Cool Aid also operates Next Steps Shelter at 2317 Dowler Place which provides 18 beds for men and women wanting to take that next step out of homelessness. These shelters provide an important link between the homeless community and the resources they need, including specialized services such as mental health and addictions support, housing advocacy, and crisis and life skills counselling.

Visit www.CoolAid.org/shelter for more information.

 

Victoria Cool Aid Society – Every Step Counts running program

Every Step Counts is a running and walking program for people experiencing barriers and challenges with housing, mental health, addiction and other related issues.  It is positive and innovative, drawing on the wide-reaching and long-lasting benefits of exercising and team work to foster self esteem, confidence, energy and positive growth.

Visit www.CoolAid.org/esc for more information.

 

Runners of Compassion

Runners of Compassion is a non-profit society whose members participate as a group in fundraising and volunteer activities, in order to provide support to a variety of charitable causes, organizations and non-traditional groups. We, as runners are doing something to improve ourselves. We have made the conscious decision to improve our athletic ability, health and well-being through running. If, in addition, we can help improve someone else’s life or advance the health of a community, be it local or global, then this is an added benefit we strive towards. So examples of our work projects that we sponsor locally are Shoes For Youth, Sandy Merriman House, Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Center and School Breakfast and Snack Programs.

To register, drop by Frontrunners or Bellla on Johnson:

  • Frontrunners – 1200 Vancouver Street, Harris Green Village (382-8181)
  • Frontrunners – 133-Goldstream Avenue, Goldstream Station (391-7373)
  • Bellla on Johnson – 104B-560 Johnson Street, Market Square (380-0994)

 

For more information contact:

Rob Reid
Frontrunners
250-216-2305

Karen Tannas
250-514-6945

Access Health Centre Celebrates History & Heritage Award

Victoria – May 20, 2010 – The Access Health Centre celebrated its restored heritage building today with the mounting of a bronze plaque on 713 Johnson Street outlining the building’s history. Hallmark Society’s administrative director Helen Edwards presented the building’s owners, AIDS Vancouver Island and Victoria Cool Aid Society, with an Award of Merit for the building’s heritage restoration.

“The Hallmark Society was impressed not only by the quality of the heritage restoration,” said Helen Edwards, “but also because it was completed by non-profit partners actively engaged in improving the downtown core.” The project was managed by CitySpaces Consulting.

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“We are proud to have restored the deteriorated and underutilized building that formerly housed the bingo hall downtown,” said Andrea Langlois, AIDS Vancouver Island’s manager of communications. “Even more exciting is the fact that we are able to deliver better health and social services to many more low-income clients than in our previous cramped quarters.”

$4.4 million of the $5.3 million cost for the heritage restoration and reconstruction has been paid for by the partners, foundations, government, businesses and caring individuals. “We are still searching for a million-dollar donor to finish paying for the capital costs and help us establish a small building endowment,” said Irene Haigh-Gidora, manager of community health services for Cool Aid. “If desired, a building naming opportunity is available.”

Donations to help support the Access Health Centre’s reconstruction can be sent c/o Victoria Cool Aid Society, 102-749 Pandora Avenue, Victoria BC, V8W 1N9, 250-383-1977 or made online at
www.AccessHealthCentre.ca/donate.

The Access Health Centre is a one-stop health and social services building downtown serving over 6,000 people struggling with homelessness, addictions and mental health issues.  Access is a joint project of the Victoria Cool Aid Society and AIDS Vancouver Island, and cost $5.3 million to reconstruct the heritage building at 713 Johnson Street. Services at the Access Health Centre include counselling, education and harm reduction, mental health, dental, pharmaceutical and primary health care for people who are homeless, poor and vulnerable.

The Cool Aid Community Health Clinic is located on the first floor, the Cool Aid Dental Clinic on the second floor, and AIDS Vancouver Island’s prevention, support, education and administrative services is on the third floor. Counsellors from Victoria Native Friendship Centre also operate out of the second floor and VIHA Mental Health & Addictions will be moving additional complementary services to the second floor in the coming months.

For more information please visit www.AccessHealthCentre.ca.

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Information:                     www.AccessHealthCentre.ca/history

Helen Edwards, Administrative Director, Hallmark Society
250- 686-0788 or helen@highspeedplus.com
www.hallmarksociety.ca

Deane Strongitharm, Senior Associate, CitySpaces Consulting Ltd.
250-383-0304 x22, bstrongitharm@CitySpaces.ca
www.CitySpaces.ca

Irene Haigh-Gidora, Manager of Community Health Services, Victoria Cool Aid Society
250-385-1466 or ihgidora@CoolAid.org
www.CoolAid.org/health

Andrea Langlois
Manager of Communications, AIDS Vancouver Island
250-384-2366 or andrea.langlois@Avi.org
www.Avi.org

Ellice Street Knitters Receive International Support

Active  Imageby Lesley Crassweller – With the opening of the Ellice Street Shelter set for September 2010, the Centennial United Church/Burnside Gorge group of knitters is two thirds of its way to completing 106 afghans. And it’s not only the “locals” who have contributed to this project. Lil, who lives in Wales, sends wool and squares to her sister Marilyn in Victoria, who is aiming to complete 25 afghans. Sharon, a flight attendant, takes her knitting on international flights and tells crew and passengers of the project.

The Centennial United Church knitters receive wonderful help from the “Knitters and the Menders” group and from every United Church in Victoria. All this began with a suggestion from Lois that the church and community share in the project with the aim of  “a new afghan blanket on every bed” for the Ellice Street Shelter.

For pickup of completed squares, contact Lois at 250-385-1400 or Rosemary at 250-727-7339. The group hopes to complete the afghans within a few months. Donations of wool are still welcome. To make a donation please contact Lois at 250-385-1400.


Reprinted with permission from the Burnside Gorge Community News, April 2010, www.burnsidegorge.ca/ebook.pdf.

36 Units of Seniors Housing in Saanich: Olympic Vista Breaks Ground

May 7, 2010 – The Victoria Cool Aid Society is pleased to announce that a ground-breaking ceremony was held today at 3814 Carey Road in Saanich for the “Olympic Vista” apartments – a supportive housing development of 36 units in Saanich.

“Olympic Vista is Cool Aid’s ninth supported housing building in the Capital Region and our first in Saanich, and will open early next year,” said John Crean, Cool Aid’s manager of housing. “With the addition of these 36 new studio apartments, Cool Aid will provide long-term housing and support services for a total of 292 people in Saanich, Victoria and Langford.”

 

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The Cool Aid Housing Program provides affordable, supported housing to the people who are most marginalized in our community and whom would otherwise most likely be homeless.  Tenant supports include life skills promotion, medication monitoring, volunteer opportunities, regular tenant gatherings and organized outings. Olympic Vista, like Cool Aid’s other two seniors buildings, will also offer nutritious meals.

Olympic Vista has been made possible by the generous support of our partners:

  • BC Housing is contributing the $7.2 million construction and assembly cost and will pay for the ongoing building maintenance and support services.
  • The Capital Regional Hospital District has contributed the land, valued at $1.15 million.
  • VANOC is to be commended for their thoughtful and careful planning so that Olympic athletes’ housing could be re-assembled in Saanich, and other communities in BC, as a lasting legacy to improve the community for everyone and help end homelessness.

Victoria Cool Aid Society provides supported housing, primary health and dental care, emergency shelter, mental health support and employment opportunities to adults who are marginalized in Greater Victoria. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

Cool Aid, BC Housing and CRHD are partners in the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, whose mandate is to house and support those who are homeless; provide the necessary infrastructure to lead, coordinate, monitor and ensure results on Victoria’s homelessness crisis; and to prevent homelessness from occurring in the future.

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Information:        www.CoolAid.org/housing    and   www.CoolAid.org/olympic

John Crean, Manager of Housing, Cool Aid
250-414-4793, jcrean@CoolAid.org

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director, Cool Aid
250-383-1977, kstinson@CoolAid.org


 

Speaking Notes: Olympic Vista Breaks Ground

Cathy Stigant, Board Chair

Every time the Victoria Cool Aid Society constructs a new building we feel renewed hope. Hope that together we can end homelessness. Hope that together we will end homelessness.

Thanks to our building partners – BC Housing and the Capital Regional Hospital District – we stand proudly here today to formally break ground on the Olympic Vista apartments. Thank you for joining us to celebrate this important moment for the community.

Olympic Vista represents hope for a better future for 36 adults who will soon have modest studio apartments in Saanich. We welcome these new neighbours whom we are privileged to serve. We welcome a better community for Saanich and the Capital Region.

At the same time, we must acknowledge how difficult is the struggle, in these uncertain economic times, to end homelessness in our community.

We have joined together in the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness because we have hope. Because we know that solutions are better, and more cost effective, than the status quo.

This year, Cool Aid’s services are at capacity and beyond. In troubled economic times, the poor and marginalized are often hurt the most. Our employees see it every month in increasing demands for Cool Aid services – health care, emergency shelter, housing, and support for mental health, addictions and employment.

Olympic Vista is Cool Aid’s 9th supported housing building in the Capital Region and our first in Saanich. With the addition of these 36 new apartments, Cool Aid will provide long-term housing and support services for 292 people in Saanich, Victoria and Langford.

Unfortunately, there are hundreds more individuals who are homeless in the Capital Region. Many more projects like Olympic Vista are needed to create a better future for our communities.

The Cool Aid Housing Program provides affordable, supportive housing to the people who are most marginalized in our community, and whom would otherwise most likely be homeless.  Tenant supports include life skills promotion, medication monitoring, volunteer opportunities, regular tenant gatherings and organized outings. Olympic Vista, like Cool Aid’s other two seniors buildings, will also serve nutritious meals.

Olympic Vista would not be possible without the generous support of our partners.

BC Housing has contributed the entire $7.2 million construction and assembly cost for Olympic Vista and will pay for the ongoing building maintenance and support services for those who live here.

Thank you Murray Coell and the BC Government for your strong support of housing for citizens trapped by poverty and unfortunate circumstance.

The Capital Regional Hospital District has contributed the land upon which we stand, valued at $1.15 million. Without land there can be no low-income housing.

Thank you Graham Hill, and the Capital Regional Hospital District, for your continued care and generosity to our neighbours who need help and hope. And thank you Mayor Frank Leonard, and the District of Saanich, for approving the plans for Olympic Vista.

On behalf of Cool Aid, I would also like to thank our new neighbours, represented here today by Susan Belford and the Mount View Colquitz Community Association. We look forward to working with you to ensure that our tenants, employees and building, are a positive contribution to this neighbourhood.

VANOC is also to be commended for their wise planning. How farsighted that Olympic athletes’ housing will be re-assembled right here, in Saanich, as a lasting legacy for all British Columbians.

Cool Aid, BC Housing and the Capital Regional Hospital District, are all partners in the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. Together, our mandate is to house and support those who are homeless; to ensure results on the Capital Region’s homelessness crisis; and to prevent homelessness from occurring in the future.

Together we have taken a positive step forward today – providing new hope for the future.

Together we will end homelessness.

Thank you very much.

Sleep Country Canada Donates 110 Beds

April 13, 2010 – Sleep Country Canada generously gave 110 nearly-new beds today with a huge truckload of bed frames and mattresses for Victoria Cool Aid Society’s supportive housing residents,  delivered free of charge by Transource Transportation. The beds are from the Whistler Athletes Village and are part of a sizeable Olympics legacy being left to the community in the form of supportive housing.

Delivery of 85 beds to Victoria Cool Aid Society from Sleep Country

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, under construction at this time is the Olympic Vista supported housing building on Carey Road in Saanich. The exciting Olympic Vista project will create 36 new units of supportive housing for seniors who are homeless or at risk from re-assembled modular housing from the Olympic Athletes Village. Like all Cool Aid housing, staffing will be on site 24/7.

The new housing is scheduled to open in Spring 2011.

Cool Aid Volunteers Receive The Bay Centre’s Support

April 23, 2010 – The volunteer program of Victoria Cool Aid Society’s mental health and employment services will benefit from a $2,000 donation from The Bay Centre. The gift from The Bay Centre coincides with National Volunteer Week (April 18-24) – a celebration of volunteers and volunteerism in Victoria and across the country.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society thanks dozens of volunteers who are central to its REES (Resources, Education, Employment and Support) Program and thanks over 100 other volunteers who make a difference to clients’ lives every day at its emergency shelters, dental clinic and supportive housing programs.

“We are so grateful for our amazing volunteers, who enhance the lives of thousands of our clients every year – providing services that Cool Aid could not offer without them,” said executive director Kathy Stinson. “At our REES Program, volunteers mentor people living with mental illness and overcoming addictions, help our clients find housing, employment and supports, and produce a monthly publication to assist the many citizens and organizations working to improve mental health in our community. REES volunteers help over 100 people every day.”

“Victoria is fortunate to have over 138,000 volunteers who are committed to enriching the lives of others through volunteerism,” said Darlene Hollstein, General Manager of The Bay Centre. “It is because of these individuals that organizations such as the Victoria Cool Aid Society can deliver essential programs to thousands of people in need on an annual basis.”

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for over 40 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, mental health supports, and a casual labour pool for adults who are homeless or in need of help.

Covering one full city block in the heart of town, The Bay Centre has a mix of over 90 street front and interior shops where you’ll find great unique brands, diverse dining options and exceptional service in an urban shopping environment.

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Information:         www.CoolAid.org/rees                www.thebaycentre.ca

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director, Cool Aid
250-383-1977, kstinson@CoolAid.org

Darlene  Hollstein, General Manager, The Bay Centre
250-952-5699, hollsteind@cadillacfairview.com

Every Step Counts… Especially the First Step

Active ImageFebruary 18, 2010 – Today marks a year of success and the first anniversary of Every Step Counts, a unique running program founded by the Victoria Foundation and hosted at the Victoria Cool Aid Society.

Drawing on the benefits of running and team work to foster self esteem, confidence, energy and positive growth, the program is for individuals experiencing challenges with addiction, mental health, poverty, homelessness and other social issues.

“By committing to pilot Every Step Counts, our Board was confident it would be an excellent fit for Victoria,” says Sandra Richardson, Victoria Foundation CEO. “Today’s gathering not only demonstrates the support we have from our community partners but the faces around the room are proof of the positive impact we are having within our community.”

The program has provided a wide range of physical and mental health benefits to the participants, including weight loss, decreased body mass index and decreased waist size.  As Dr. David Bell, a physician of several of the runners, put it:

“I have patients involved in the Every Step Counts program. Their involvement in this program has had a very positive impact on their mental and physical health. I believe this program has done more to improve self-esteem and integrate these people into society than most of my medical interventions and will result in lower costs to the medical health system in general and the mental health system in particular.”

Almost two years ago, the Victoria Foundation brought forward the idea of Every Step Counts and with the support of Frontrunners, Vancity, United Way, The Jawl Foundation and the TELUS Victoria Community Board, funding was secured.  Victoria Cool Aid Society was then approached to develop, house and run this dynamic and positive health and wellness program.

Participants mark running milestones after demonstrating their commitment to keeping with the program.  Upon joining, they receive gently used running shoes. After five runs, they earn a water bottle, after 10, they receive a certificate and a technical shirt. After 15 runs, they are outfitted with brand new running shoes and at the 25 run mark they earn two running hats; one to keep and one to gift to an individual who has helped to make “every step count”.

“This program draws its strength and dignity from each individual who comes out to run or walk,” explains Gillie Easdon, Every Step Counts Program Coordinator.  ”We are all equals in our running gear which means we can leave our histories, diagnoses and financial situations at the door. That is powerful.”

Total individual runs have reached 2,500 by over 120 participants as Every Step Counts enters its second year. Participation growth levels have been steady and the program seeks to add value to participants through things like monthly wellness talks.  Both refreshing and empowering, Every Step Counts continues to inspire other communities and enrich its own mandate and potential. Some runners are now unable to attend, as they are in training programs or employment.   But they, like the rest of the crew, now have a deeper appreciation of just how Every Step does Count.

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For more information, please visit:

www.CoolAid.org/esc     and  www.victoriafoundation.bc.ca

Media Contacts:

Brittany McConeghy
Program Coordinator, Every Step Counts
250-882-5261

Shannon Drew-Burrows
Director of Communications, Victoria Foundation
250-381-5532

Just $900,000 Left To Raise for $5.3 M Access Building

February 1, 2010 – AIDS Vancouver Island and Victoria Cool Aid Society have announced that another $100,000 has been raised for the Access Health Centre. This $5.3 million building project is supported by the partner agencies, government, foundations, businesses and individuals.  Just $900,000 remains to meet the mortgage-free goal.

The building at 713 Johnson Street, occupied since September 2009, is now home to counsellors from the Victoria Native Friendship Centre offering renewed downtown access to urban First Nations services. Later in the year, VIHA will also be moving some of their mental health and addiction services onto the second floor. These valuable partners will add to the integration of services available at the Access Health Centre which provides primary care, dental care, counselling and mental health services to the homeless and other vulnerable, at-risk populations, with a team approach that has been applauded by government, health care professionals and the community.

Significant donations in the last two months include:

  • Over $25,000 – Individual Cool Aid donors, local physicians and dentists
  • $16,000 – BMO Bank of Montreal (BC Division)
  • $13,500 – The Queen Alexandra Foundation for Children to pay for dental equipment used in
    the treatment of children
  • $10,000 – CIBC
  • $9,000 – Gifts from Victoria Foundation donors
  • $2,000 – St. John the Divine Anglican Church members

Victoria Cool Aid Society and AIDS Vancouver Island continue to accept donations to retire the mortgage so all funds can be devoted to services.  A $1 million donor interested in naming rights or an anonymous gift for the downtown heritage building at 713 Johnson Street is also being sought.

If the capital campaign’s goal of $5.3 million is surpassed, an endowment fund will be set up in perpetuity at the Victoria Foundation to help pay for the annual costs associated with the Access Health Centre and its services.

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Information:    www.AccessHealthCentre.ca     www.CoolAid.org    www.Avi.org

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director, Victoria Cool Aid Society
250-383-1977

Andrea Langlois, Communications Manager, AIDS Vancouver Island
250-384-2366 ext. 2268

Homeless Awareness Art Exhibition: Jan. 15 – Feb. 27

The Victoria Fine Art Festival Society presents its inaugural exhibition, in part sponsored by the Victoria Cool Aid Society:

Homeless Awareness:
an Exhibition of Art Work by People Who Have Experienced Homelessness
January 15 – February 27, 2010
705 Johnson Street, Downtown Victoria
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm

Opening reception with the artists January 15, 5-8pm. Free event and open to the public.

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Click on artwork for art exhibit poster .

Free Film events:

January 28, 7pm     Anne
February 25, 7pm    The Cats of Mirikitani

This juried exhibition features works for sale by: Vicki Bailey (painting/printmaking), Anne Campbell (drawing), Luke Garrison (digital collage), Jerry Hayes (painting), Paula Johnson (painting), Robert MacDonald (painting), Russell Maier (painting), Taras Masciuch (photography), Ian Morris (drawing/painting), and George Williams (wood carving).

Director and Curator for the Victoria Fine Arts Festival Society, Yuri Arajs, has a long history of producing social mission-based art exhibitions.

“I feel strongly about VFAF’s inaugural exhibit focus on one of the most tragic problems in Victoria – homelessness. This exhibition is a good example of something concrete that can be done to help people directly. The artists in the exhibit will have their work framed for them and receive 100% of sales. Homeless persons seldom are given the opportunity to have their opinions heard — much less have their art valued in mainstream society.”

For more information contact:

Yuri Arajs
Maureen Flanagan
Phone: 250.891.1901
Email: info@victoriafineartfestival.org
www.VictoriaFineArtFestival.org

The mission of the Victoria Fine Art Festival is to bring a better understanding of contemporary art to our community through the production of an annual, juried, contemporary fine art festival in September of each year. Beyond the annual festival, VFAF will produce other exhibitions throughout the year in various venues.

UVic Dance Collaborative Benefit

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The U-Vic Dance Collaborative is a dance company formed for fundraising events by U-Vic Ballet /Jazz teacher Wendy MacDougall and U-Vic Hip Hop teacher Kevin  Pescod.  The dancers are students from the University of Victoria’s recreational dance program.  An emphasis on inclusiveness and empowerment through dance helps create a cohesive dance community. The U-Vic Dance Collaborative celebrates a diversity of dance styles including Classical, Ethnic and Contemporary.
U-Vic Dance Collaborative presents a benefit for the Victoria Cool Aid Society:

Spectrum Community School Theater
957 Burnside Road West
Sunday, April 5th @ 7 pm (doors open at 6:30)
Tickets: $20 at the door (children under 12 free)

Contact Sari at the Victoria Cool Aid Society for more information or tickets (250) 414-4789, sringma@CoolAid.orgor 102-749 Pandora Avenue, between 8:30-4:30 weekdays.

All proceeds will be dedicated to the ACCESS Health Centre to provide appropriate health services to those in our community who are homeless and vulnerable.

McGregor Donates 20,000 Pairs of Socks to Region’s Homeless

News Release – Victoria – The Victoria Cool Aid Society and Congregation Emanu-El are pleased to announce that 4,200 quality pairs of socks have just been donated by McGregor Socks (Toronto) to people in the Capital Region who are homeless and poor. Since 2005, McGregor Socks have donated a total of 20,000 pairs of socks to our community.

The media are invited to watch socks being delivered to local social service providers by Mayor Dean Fortin, volunteers from Congregation Emanu-El and Cool Aid staff. The socks will be shared with 16 different agencies who will hand them out for free to those in need.

Itinerary: Friday, February 20

2:10 pm – Delivery of socks to Cool Aid Community Health Centre, 465 Swift Street
3:15 pm – Delivery of socks to Native Friendship Centre, 231 Regina Avenue
4:00 pm – Delivery of socks to Burnside Gorge Community Centre, 471 Cecelia Road

“For over 80 years, our mission has been to create products that ‘bring comfort to body and soul’,” said Richard Cherniuk of McGregor Socks. “Working with social service agencies extends that comfort to thousands of vulnerable Victorians. We hope our gift inspires other businesses to step up and help out.”

“Working to end homelessness is a top priority for the City of Victoria. It is a complex challenge,” said Mayor Dean Fortin. “I am very encouraged that even during hard business times McGregor’s Socks has once again said ‘yes’ to helping our homeless community. When we work collectively to act on both the short term and long term solutions, we can provide real benefit for people in need.”

“A gift of socks is a gift of health for our neighbours who are homeless or poorly housed,” said Irene Haigh-Gidora, Cool Aid’s Manager of Community Health Services. “A good pair of socks provides warmth and helps prevent fungal foot infections and blisters. Fresh socks are also a part of the treatment plan for these common street ailments.”

“Congregation Emanu-El follows the call to ‘love thy neighbour as thyself,’ ” said Rabbi Louis Sutker, “and we are pleased to help bring a little warmth to the streets of Victoria through the work of Avodah, our social action group.”

“I’m glad this shipment came together and that socks again will make the lives of our neighbours a bit easier,” said Avodah member Michael Bloomfield. “Such actions may not solve the problem but declare our responsibility to each other and especially to those in need.”

McGregor Socks is a subsidiary of McGregor Industries Toronto, Canada.  McGregor was founded in 1928 by the Lipson family and today is still led by third generation family members.  The companies’ major source of revenue is from the development and marketing of better men’s and women’s socks.  The company distributes a wide range of licensed, national brands and private label products through an extensive international sales network, with 10,000 points of sale in over 30 countries.

Congregation Emanu-El is Canada’s oldest synagogue, built in 1863, and in continuous use since. Avodah is Congregation Emanu-El’s social action group.  Ongoing projects include preparing hot meals, collecting socks and food, and supporting local organizations dedicated to serving those most in need in our city, particularly homeless youth and adults.

Victoria Cool Aid Society provides primary health care services, supported housing, emergency shelter, life skills training and job placements to vulnerable adults in the Victoria area. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

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Information:  

www.CoolAid.org       www.congregation-emanu-el.org

Irene Haigh-Gidora, Manager of Community Health Services, Cool Aid, 250-385-1477, ihgidora@CoolAid.org

Rabbi Louis Sutker, Congregation Emanu-El, 250-382-0615, ravenlws@gmail.com

Richard Cherniuk, McGregor Industries, (416) 593-5353, rcherniuk@mcg-ae.com

Mayor Dean Fortin, 250-361-0200, mayor@victoria.ca

Federal Investment in Affordable Housing is Ideal Economic Stimulus

January 8, 2009 – Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness – News Release – National investment of $2.5 Billion could create up to 50,000 new homes across Canada; $25 million to the Capital Region and 500 new homes here.

Jill Clements, Executive Director of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness is urging the Federal Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, to consider an infrastructure investment in affordable housing as a short term economic stimulus.

An estimated 150,000 to 300,000 Canadians are homeless at an annual public cost of at least $4.5 billion.  In the capital region, it is estimated that 1500 people are homeless at a cost of $62 million spent annually on services such as policing, jails, hospital services, emergency shelters and street clean up.

Using a per capita funding formula of $75 per Canadian, for a national investment of $2.5 billion, Clements states that, “An infrastructure stimulus package such as this could mean over $20 million to the capital region and up to 500 desperately-needed housing units for this region’s vulnerable population.”

Clements claims that for every federal dollar invested, between two and three additional dollars might be leveraged from other sources such as the private sector, provincial governments, and charitable contributions resulting in a $7.5 billion impact to the Canadian economy, or $75 million to the economy of the capital region.  Clements also states that “This economic stimulus is unique in its ability to ultimately reduce costs to Canadian taxpayers.

”This investment will directly support Canada’s and this region’s most vulnerable citizens, those who are most likely to suffer the greatest impact of a recession.”

Federal investment in affordable housing will help maintain economic growth in the recession prone construction industry, and support the BC government’s ‘wood is good’ campaign, generate significant economic activity and ensure our community can attract and retain lower paid workers.

The Coalition is also recommending that the federal government move quickly to amend Canada’s Income Tax Act to eliminate the capital gains tax on donations of land and buildings to registered public charities for the purpose of providing perpetually affordable housing. This would create incentives for businesses, organizations, philanthropists and individuals to assist with the creation of affordable housing.

Clements believes an infrastructure investment in affordable housing meets all four criteria identified in Budget 2009 consultation documents. “Speaking for the situation in BC’s capital region, we believe such an investment is timely; has the maximum impact, as it will lever additional dollars from other sources; is flexible in size and duration, as it accommodates for population and can be spread over two years or compressed into a shorter time period; and is consistent with Canada’s long-term goals as articulated in the most recent Speech from the Throne and the government’s fiscal policy”.

The goals of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness to house and support those who are homeless, focusing on street homelessness first; provide the necessary infrastructure to lead, coordinate, monitor and ensure results on Victoria’s homelessness crisis; and to prevent homelessness.

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Information:

Letter to Federal Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty
Position paper Infrastructure Investment in Affordable Housing as Economic Stimulus

Jill Clements, Executive Director, Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness
(w) 250-370-1516, (c) 250-217-3709

Robert Mitchell, Program Manager, Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness
(w) 250-370-1506, (c) 250-888-1834

Foundations Donate $90,000 to ACCESS Health Centre

Cool Aid and AIDS Vancouver Island are pleased to announce two very generous gifts to the ACCESS Health Centre totalling $90,000.

$70,000 is being contributed by the Mr. and Mrs. P.A. Woodward’s Foundation towards the purchase of medical and dental equipment.

Sun Star Fund, through Victoria Foundation, have invested a gift of $20,000 to be used to encourage more individual and corporate donations, so that the ACCESS Health Centre will be mortgage-free.

Substance use, increasing mental health issues and housing shortages impact every citizen and business in the Victoria area. The ACCESS Health Centre will help to address these issues by delivering one-stop, comprehensive health services to the Capital Region’s homeless and most vulnerable citizens.

Consider a donation to ACCESS today.

Free Christmas Chili Supper and Concert

Come one, come all to the 2nd Annual Bandit Benefit – Christmas chili supper and concert at Cool Aid’s Downtown Community Activity Centre, 755 Pandora.

December 13th @ 1 – 4 pm. Free.

The Tunrpike Bandits will provide free musical entertainment along with special guests The Clover Point Drifters and Chick Wagon Band.

Mucho thanks to the Chili Supper and Concert sponsors:

  • Thrifty Foods James Bay
  • Sector Learning Solutions
  • PEERS
  • Galey Farms
  • Tim Hortons
  • Graphic FX Signworks
  • The Real Canadian Wholesale
  • North Douglas – Sysco Food Services
  • Mustard Seed

2008 Lighted Ship Parade Benefit

Beautifully-decorated, holiday season boat in Victoria Inner HarbourMark Your Calendar! Greater Victoria Harbour Authority’s 19th Annual Lighted Ship Parade is taking place in the Inner Harbour on Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 7 pm. The lighted ships will marshal along Ship Point pier and make a slow loop of the Inner  Harbour. Complimentary hot chocolate, coffee and candy canes will be served at Ship Point while 25 artistically decorated ships sail by. A holiday night market with local artisans and entertainment  presenting holiday wares will run from 5 pm – 9 pm at Ship Point Pier. Holiday carolers will help ring in the holiday season, and we are hoping for a visit from a very special jolly old elf.

Donations will be collected for the Victoria Cool Aid Society, who run a variety of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, and a casual labour pool for adults who are homeless or in need of help.

Cool Aid is currently looking for gifts of socks, mittens/gloves and hats, towels, blankets, sheets and pillow cases, and warm, waterproof adult jackets in good condition, as well as bus tickets and hygiene products such as shampoo, razors, toothbrushes, deodorants, etc. for shelter and other programs. Grocery store pre-paid cards also make a nice gift. (These gifts can also be tax-deductible.) For more information on donating to help end homelessness visit www.CoolAid.org/donate.

Run/Walk for the Homeless 2008

The National Triathalon Centre, in conjunction with PacificSport Victoria, sponsored the 3rd Annual Run/Walk for the Homeless on Sunday, November 30th, 2008.

Last year $2,700 was raised for the homeless and this year about$5,000 was collected on the day and through online pledges to support the ACCESS Health Centre. It is hoped that BC Gaming will contribute a further $5,000 through its BC150 Volunteer Incentive Program.

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Registration starts at 9 am at Beaver Lake, lower parking lot.

1K, 3K, 5K and 10 kilometre courses are available and everybody is welcome to this family, fundraising event. This year, all proceeds go to the Victoria Cool Aid Society’s health services.

Donations can be made online and a pledge form and event brochureare also available on this web site or at your nearest recreation centre or running shoes store. You can also register online. More Information can be found at ntcrunwalk.blogspot.com.

Registration starts at 9 am and the 1K Fun Run begins at 10 am. The 10K, 5K and 3K courses start at 10:15 am.

Volunteers who want to help with registration and parking please arrive at 8 am.

Mark your calenders. It will be a great event, with lots of awesome food, music and good times for everyone.

A Gift from the Heart Benefit Concert

A benefit concert featuring the Clover Point Drifters, Louise Rose and the Vic High Pop Choir is being held Saturday, November 15 at 7 pm at the Alix Goolden Hall, 907 Pandora Street in Victoria. Profits will support the Victoria Cool Aid Society and Our Place. Tickets are available for $33.50 from the Royal & McPherson box office, #3 Centennial Square. See www.rmts.bc.ca for more information or to purchase tickets online.

The Clover Point Drifters, a bluegrass band from Victoria BC, Canada.

“A Gift from the Heart” benefit concert is presented by Ken Frenette in association with Lance Gilson, ICAN Entertainment & Productions. Accountants: Sherwood & Thomas.

Homelessness Action Week 2008 Calendar

Homelessness Action Week logo

Calendar of Events & Activities: October 13-19

Almost a dozen activities will be held for the general public and people who are homeless this October 12 through 19 – the third annual Homelessness Action Week in British Columbia.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society will have a historical display celebrating our 40th Anniversary at The Bay Centre from Tuesday, October 14 through Sunday, October 19 during regular mall hours. Other organizations including Our Place and the Mustard Seed will also have displays at “Centre Court”. For more information call 250-590-1931.

More activities are listed below and additional information can be found at the following web sites:

www.ourwayhome.ca
http://homelessnessactionweek.wordpress.com

Please contact Cool Aid if you know of something else that should be added to this calendar.

Activities Prior to Homelessness Action Week

Starting October 1, “A Dozen Days, A Dozen Ways” to help end homelessness. A series of television public service announcements sponsored by City TV – with one practical suggestion each day on how to help end homelessness. See http://communitychallenge.wordpress.com.

Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 5-11, is an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness. The week was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) in cooperation with all its member organizations and many other supporters across Canada. Information: http://www.miaw-ssmm.ca/en/default.aspx.

All Week

Social service providers including the Mustard Seed, Our Place and the Victoria Cool Aid Society will have displays at The Bay Centre (Centre Court) from Tuesday, October 14 through Sunday, October 19 during regular mall hours. Cool Aid’s display includes historical photos and materials celebrating it’s 40th Anniversary. Information: Kathy Stinson, 250-383-1977, www.CoolAid.org.

Monday, October 13 – Thanksgiving Monday

31st Annual Thanksgiving Dinner Event at Azul’s Family Restaurant, 811 Bay Street (at Blanshard) starting at 5 pm. Free meal for 600. Tickets available at the Upper Room, Mustard Seed and the Blanshard Community Centre. Sponsored by Dodd’s Furniture & Mattress.

Our Place Thanksgiving dinner from 11:30 am till 3 pm. Antoinette Warren, 388-7112 x 239,antoinette@ourplacesociety.com.

Tuesday, October 14 – Federal Election Day

9:30-12:30 am. By registration workshop presentation by Iain de Jong, from the City of Toronto’s Streets to Homes program at Begbie Hall, Woodward Room, 2100 Richmond. Sponsored by the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. To register call Lynn Driver, 250-370-1512, lynndriver@solvehomelessness.ca.

Wednesday, October 15

Café Philsophy will host a discussion on: “Is homelessness a preventable evil?” Takes place from 7  to 9:15 pm at Solstice Cafe, 529 Pandora Avenue. Information: 250-385-CAFE (2233) or www.cafe-philosophy.com.

Thursday, October 16 – World Food Day

Project Connect brings together the street community and a variety of service providers for a day-long event that will feature everything from free haircuts and a pet clinic to help with getting on income assistance, replacing ID, opening a bank account, and many more  services. BBQ lunch. Event runs 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Saint John the Divine church hall, 1611 Quadra Street. Email jodypaterson@shaw.ca or call 250-881-4792 for volunteer opportunities or further information. Sponsored by the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.

The Social Economy and Homelessness in Victoria, a talk by Dr. Benjamin Isitt, Department of History, University of Victoria. From 4 to 5 pm at the University, David Strong Building, Room C130. Join us as we celebrate co-op week with an exploration of how co-operatives and the social economy address the need for affordable housing. This talk will be the launch for Dr. Isitt’s paper “Housing for All: The Social Economy and Homelessness in Victoria” published by the The Canadian Social Economy Hub and the Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships. Information:
www.bcics.org/content/housing-for-all.

Friday, October 17

9 am to 12 noon.  Gaining Community Acceptance Workshop for housing providers, city staff and neighbourhood associations at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, 231 Regina Avenue. Information and to pre-register ($20): BC Non-Profit Housing Association, Kate Nielsen, 1-800-494-8859, kate@bcnpha.ca.

Lunch with Steve Snyder, CEO Transalta  and Tim Richter, Calgary Homeless Foundation at Harbour Towers, 345 Quebec Street. Tickets $30 at Munros Books, Victoria City Hall or Our Place. Information: Antoinette Warren, 388-7112 x 239, antoinette@ourplacesociety.com.

Saturday, October 18

“Moving Mountains: Housing for All in An Unaffordable Market” with representatives of Victoria’s faith communities. At Emmanuel Baptist Church, 2121 Cedar Hill Cross Road from 1 to 4 pm. Pre-registration required through Faith In Action, Peggy Wilmot, 250-592-2320, pwilmot@shaw.ca.

11 – 12 noon @ Saanich Municipal Hall on Vernon Avenue. Put Affordable Housing on the Municipal Election Agenda. You can make a difference – political pressure works – municipal candidates must commit to developing affordable housing strategies! Let them know you’ll stand and vote for housing! Wear something blue and bring your own sign. Faith in Action, graceful@shaw.ca or pwilmot@shaw.ca.

Arts Festival Stage Program and Artist Bios

Cool Aid Culture - Arts Festival & 40th Reunion posterSaturday’s Arts Festival includes over six hours of live music and poetry including 26 performers and bands and 38 visual artists displaying and selling their work. The full program with band and artist bios is below. The Cool Aid Culture – Arts Festival & 40th Reunion will be held, rain or shine, this Saturday, August 16 from 1 to 7 pm at Centennial Square.

The “Cool Aid Culture – Arts Festival & 40th Reunion” also includes street acts, a children’s area, and 4½ hours of “Doggy Idol” for dog lovers and their furry friends (program also attached). Additional information about the Arts Festival including an overview and site map can be found at www.CoolAid.org/40 or by calling 250-590-1931.

A few volunteers are still needed . If you want to help out, please come toCentennial Square on Saturday anytime between 8 am and 12 noon and report in to the volunteer office to get an assignment. We also need posterers. Call 250.590.1931 to arrange pick up or click on the poster image above to get a full-sized version you can print on your own printer. Thank you.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and community in the Capital Region for 40 years, since 1968, through a wide range of programs including supported housing, community health and dental services, emergency shelter, and a casual labour pool. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 250-383-1977.

The Government of Canada has contributed funding to this initiative.

– 30 –

Information:        www.CoolAid.org/40

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director
250-383-1977, 250-812-6480 Saturday, kstinson@CoolAid.org

Alan Rycroft, Community Relations Coordinator
250-414-4781, 250-893-6800 Saturday, arycroft@CoolAid.org
  – musician and art photos available by request


Cool Aid Culture – Main Stage

Saturday, August 16 @ 1-7 pm

Time MINS ACT GENRE
12:45 15 SPECIAL GUEST EMCEE
30 Children of Celebrities Rock/Pop
15 Christian Tatonetti Folk
1:30 5 KATHY STINSON, Cool Aid Executive Director
25 Weak Patrol Rock Band
5 Louise MacLaren Poetry
15 Gary McDougall Folk
2:15 5 LAURISSA CHAPPLE, Cool Aid Arts Festival
10 James Hillier Theatrical
20 The 3 M’s Blues/Jazz/Rock
15 Rena Rock/Blues solo
3:00 5 JOHN CREAN, Cool Aid Housing
15 Mark Ashby Original Folk
30 The Essentials Old Rock & Roll/Blues
15 Sundog Dave Folk
3:45 5 GRETCHEN BREWIN, Cool Aid Director
30 James Kasper Folk
10 Sarah Ann Chisholm theatrical
4:45 5 MAYOR CHRIS CAUSTON, Oak Bay
10 Alley Cat Poetry
30 Zolabud Rock
15 Lee Hammer Old School Blues/Folk
5:30 5 JANE DEWING, Cool Aid (former Executive Director)
15 Sarah Kirsch Opera
15 Thomas Radcliff Folk
5 Terra Timers Poetry
5 Midnight Star Poetry
10 Willow Song Opera
6:30 5 KEN KELLY, Downtown Victoria Business Association
30 The Roper show Rock/Blues Band
15 Mark Folk
10 Spoons & Therin Experimental

Schedule for Doggy Idol

Saturday, August 16 @ 1 – 5:30 pm

Centennial Square, Victoria City Hall

 

Part of Cool Aid Culture – Arts Festival

 

 1 pm Canine Good Neighbour fun test
Novice Agility course will be running at the same time
 1.30 pm Dog/owner ball and spoon race (dogs will be on leash)
 2 pm Dog with the waggiest tail
 2.20 pm Dog with the most unique trick
 2.45 pm Canine Good Neighbour fun test
Novice Agility course will be running at the same time
 3.15 pm Fastest Eater
 3.30 pm Owner most like dog
 3.50 pm Canine Good Neighbour fun test
Novice Agility course will be running at the same time
 4.20 pm Dog with the most appealing eyes
 4.40 pm Best Dressed Dog (Owners dress dogs up)
 5.10 pm Canine Good Neighbour fun test
Novice Agility course will be running at the same time

 


Cool Aid Culture – In the Square

Saturday, August 16 @ 1-7 pm

PERFORMING IN THE SQUARE

Time   Name Genre Location
1-7 pm The Nine of Wands – “Kat” Psychic-Seer Wandering
1-7 pm Keith Jenkins Living Statue Pandora Ave
1-2 pm Metro’s Dulcimer Sounds Celtic Government & Fisgard
2-3 pm Open Door Choir with Louise Rose Vocal Government & Fisgard
3-4 pm Random Acts of Violin Violin Government & Fisgard

Map of Centennial Square

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Click on the Centennial Square map to get a high resolution image suitable for printing.

Full programs, map and info also available in Victoria News Group newspapers this week: Victoria News, Saanich News, Oak Bay News, Goldstream Gazette, Peninsula News Review and Sooke News Mirror.

 

 

 


Cool Aid Culture – Musicians and Stage Bios

 

Mark Ashby

Playing 60s-style rock and original works, Mark is excited to give back and share his regard for the Cool Aid Society and the services that it provides.

Children of Celebrities

Monday Magazine describes them as, “inhabiting that nebulous middle ground between country, bluegrass and whatever it is that Tom Waits does.” Children of Celebrities consist mostly of Cool Aid staff that has contributed to the organization’s successes in the last 40 years.

Sarah Ann Chisholm

Cool Aid’s very own thespian, Sarah has been working as a summer challenge student in the Downtown Community Activity Centre this summer. Sarah will be performing a short piece from a musical.

The Essentials

A fresh new jibe on vintage rock and roll, The Essentials are a hot ticket item that have been presented at numerous locations in Victoria, ranging from the downtown night spots to the venerable Empress Hotel.

Keith Jenkins

Presenting a unique spin on Miming; Keith is a living statue whose “stone cold” silence will intrigue and mesmerize you. Is that a real live person there??

Lee Hammer

A performing and recording artist for the last 40 years, Lee brings a combination of country, folk and southern blues to the stage. Some may remember the song “HOPE” written and performed by Lee on CBC Radio.

Jamie Hillier

Having performed musical acts and theatrical performances over a span of 40 years, Jamie believes that music is one of the most important healing aspects of his life. Jamie extends his thanks to Cool Aid for the services they offer, through his screen music performance.

James Kasper

Monday Magazine describes James Kasper as having, “haunting vocals and strong song writing.” Believing in building community and inspiring people to reach their potential, we welcome him and his band mates sharing their folk music on our stage.

Sarah Kirsh & Bob Goodwin

Opera vocalist Sarah Kirsch has studied and performed throughout North America, most recently at the BC 150 celebration main stage, bringing with her a fresh look at classical singing. Pianist Bob Goodwin has been involved in a plethora of projects.  He is currently the assistant director and accompanist of the Spirit Rising Choir and also performs with his wife Sylvia.

Louise MacLaren

Poet Louise MacLaren was propelled to developing her creative skills both in writing and other artistic mediums as a method to cope and express her experiences with bi-polar disorder. She believes that individuals who live with mood disorders are highly creative and can possess a unique talent often not found or appreciated.

Mark

Has been playing and writing music for the last 30 years. Mark is a lover of life and is excited to share his gifts with those attending the Cool Aid reunion.

Gary McDougall

The folk songs written and performed by Gary, a Cool Aid employee, are an expression of his life experiences and personal introspection. He believes that creativity is a gift designed by God for the greater understanding of self and that this gift should be used to benefit the world around us.

Metro’s Dulcimer Sounds

Playing this unique instrument for the last 25 years, Metro takes pride in bringing a sense of peace and joy to the ears of those that are listening to his music.

Midnight Star

Her poetry is meant to inspire the imagination and free the mind and soul.

The Nine of Wands

A Psychic – a Seer, working all levels of the Metaphysical. In the maze of parallels…she will be in full costume, roaming the site, “working” the Tarot deck… reading 1 to 3 cards for anyone who asks.

Open Door Choir with Louise Rose

The Open Door Choir at “Our Place” is an eclectic group of Our Place patrons and supporters that meets once weekly – Wednesday from noon until one – at Our Place.  The choir’s repertoire is almost everything you could imagine.

Random Acts of Violin

We don’t know when, and we don’t know where…but keep your ears open for the soothing melodies of violin to woo your Saturday spirits!

Rena

Rena is a self taught performer who has been playing for the last 20 years. Her lyrics reflect where she has been in life. Having personal experiences with street life here in Victoria, Rena uses her blues and rock-influenced music to inspire herself and those around her.

The Roper Show

Playing shows for the last year, Jesse, Travis and Steve are excited to be offering their rock and blues to Cool Aid Culture while preparing for their first tour.

Spoons & Therin

As an original member of the Open Door Choir, Ken enjoys doing, “a little of this and a little of that” musically and will be sharing his very unusual electronic instrument, a therin, during an experimental set for Cool Aid Culture.

Christian Tatonetti

Christian is an award winning composer playing guitar, piano and sitar. He will be showcasing his talent specifically on the sitar, and is looking forward to performing at the event.

The Three M’s

The Three M’s play an eclectic assortment of acoustic and electric merged into folk, blues, jazz, rock and roll. They have lived and played on the West Coast for the last five years. Contributing to Cool Aid’s culture is a natural effort in raising awareness around the services and support the organization provides.

Tara

Having tapped into the source of words and gained insights, Tara’s analytical style of poetry manoeuvres sentence structure to lay the groundwork for emotional release.

Weak Patrol

Weak Patrol entertains a diverse audience with their cross-genre, high-energy repertoire; ranging from humorously political, to fun bubble-punk, to aggressive rock.  Weak Patrol, in one statement, is anything but weak!

Willow Song

Performing an aria from “The Ballad of the Baby Doe”, Natalie is a classical vocalist who has performed Canada wide. She received her Masters of Arts from the University of Western Ontario.

Zolabud

When Asked how to describe themselves, Zolabud said: “Mix 2 cups of ‘Thin King’, one cup of ‘punish’, and a tablespoon of ‘rough edge’, gently stirred with a bit of dynamic rock groove, and you have Zolabud.”


Cool Aid Culture – Artists Bios

Myrna Adams

Myrna Adams has been an artisan and craftsperson for many years and recently took up the art of making pine needle baskets.  Her baskets are handcrafted from locally gathered materials in the ancient basket coiling method, with waxed cotton or raffia, and decorated with beadwork.

Jeremy Aiyadurai

At the age of 22 years, Jeremy Aigadyrai began his sojourn as a painter.  He explores the interplay of bright colours and energy layered on canvas as an act of healing.  He will be selling posters of his work and displaying original pieces.  He also enjoys creating web sites for artists to enhance the overall betterment of all people.

Maurizio Baldini

Maurizio has a background in mathematics and law, has been a mental health advocate for over 25 years, and attended the Victoria College of Art. His sculptures and drawings help keep his life balanced and express his emotions.

Alan Black

Alan is a cartoon artist who describes his work as being somewhat influenced by his past work with Cool Aid. He likes to put humour into everyday situations, including around homelessness.  Besides being the kid who did art work at school instead of studies, Alan has always drawn and hopes one day to be published.  If you look around some local Bookstores you will see some of his books for sale and he will bring some to the Festival.

Elizabeth Bogod

A self-taught artist, Elizabeth Bogod works with many different mediums – from painting and pastels to computer graphics.  Her work includes styles such as cubist, landscape, abstract and realist.  Her work will be on sale during the Cool Aid Culture event.

Gayle Chapman

Through struggling with mental illness Gayle used art as the vehicle to overcome addition and find self confidence. Painting is a new media for her and one she finds very satisfying. Gayle is a member of The Empress Bay Art Collective.

Harvey Courchesne

Harvey creates beautiful carvings out of soapstone.  His work includes carvings of First Nations spirits, such as the Spirit Toad praying for Rain, and other pieces with intricate detail.

Margaret Cox

Interested in many aspects of arts and crafts, Margaret will be sharing her knowledge of basket making during the event.  She also has a deep and abiding interest in Native culture which is evident in her work.

Jason Delange

Born in New Westminster in 1972, Jason Delange wants his art to make you smile!  To him, art is simply fun.  In the future, he’d like to become, “a brain surgeon or a sumo wrestler.”  His fall-back plan is to pursue his art, particularly in the field of Claymation.  He participated in the Seven Oaks Art Shows this year.

Tony Van Deven

Tony Van Deven will be performing a demonstration of his soapstone carving abilities at the Cool Aid Culture event and selling some of his drawings.  He has always enjoyed working with his hands and has worked in machine shops, airbrushed vehicles, painted murals, made tables and cabinets, and much more. He is a multi-talented individual whose passion for art will inspire you. His sketches adorn the Arts Festival materials.

Doreen

“Art amazes me.  Art gives life to your eyes.  Art is colourful feelings… and happiness… and ideas of looking at pictures.  My dream is to be an Eskimo.”  Doreen participated in the Seven Oaks Art Shows this year.

Keith Eden

Keith Eden was born on April 15th, 1945.  He is a photographer, who loves taking pictures with his box camera and reflex camera.  He was a participant in the Seven Oaks Art Shows this year.  “Art is an amazing form of working my sense of touch and understanding.”

Sarah Eden

Sarah owns a company called Chain Me Up.  She takes a Medieval form of art, Chain Mail to a Modern edge.  Through the use of quality materials, and embellishments like crystals, beads and charms and unusual pieces like body suits and bikinis she raises this jewellery form to an artful status.

Peter Goodman

Portrait artist Peter Goodman began using art as a healing mechanism while fighting cancer, but drawing rapidly became his life’s passion.  In discovering his artistic talents, he learned to know himself better and began to express his life story.

Lynne and James Henry

Both Lynne and James Henry are Métis Elders, members of the Aboriginal Committee for Empowerment.  They create beautiful jewellery, baskets, carved boxes, medicine bags and woven art.

Wendy Hovind

Producing purses, accessories and clothing from recycled materials, Wendy Hovind is a sewing diva,  who focuses on creating one-of-a-kind pieces.  She does a great deal of custom work (taking pieces from the initial idea to a completed project), alterations and repairs.

Motuz Joe

A member of the Aboriginal Committee for Empowerment, Motuz Joe is a Métis jewellery craftsman.  He has been creating jewellery for 39 years, designing his own pieces.  His display at the Cool Aid Culture event will be made up of necklaces he’s produced, but he also makes earrings, bracelets, and pieces with beaded leather.

Shane-Michael Johnson

Shane, a graduate of Western Academy of Photography admits to being drawn to the darker side, or so called “underbelly of Victoria”.  Although skilled in color photography, he likes the contrasts obtained with black and white photos. His work has been featured in numerous shows. Shane says he would rather gather comments on the social activisim of his work, then sell it. He admires the work of Ansel Adams.

James Labbé

James Labbé is a self-taught, Métis, wildlife artist whose exquisite work expresses the beauty of nature.  His hope is to impress upon people the value and importance of the natural world; he has created several murals throughout the Victoria area. His work draws heavily on Aboriginal symbols and themes.

Dora Lazo and Kevin Spencer

Dora and Kevin created K&D Exposures to showcase their photography.  Kevin has a love of landscapes and Doris specializes in Macro (close up) photography. Together they create a myriad of fresh still life’s embracing the West Coast Scenery in photos, posters, calendars and art cards.

Michael Lewis

We are pleased to have well-known, local artist Michael Lewis in the line-up.  He loves to use the warmth of the desert colors in his work and touches on social concern themes.  He admits to being heavily influenced by 1930s and 1940s American Realist painters, German Expressionist, the 1960’s art scene and the Sunday Funnies.

Tanya Locke

Art soars in Tanya Locke’s hands.  She manages her deep feelings through art, and hopes that through it people can see the kind of person she is.  Tanya participated in the Seven Oaks Art Shows this year.

Tiffany Lowe

Inspired by her art teacher at Seven Oaks, Tiffany Lowe has put a lot of work into painting and art shows.  From the time she completed her very first painting, she has not wanted to stop. She believes art is therapy for her and interpretation for others to enjoy.  She participated in the Seven Oaks Art Show earlier in this year.

Dianne Mark

Now making the West Coast her home, Dianne is embarking on making painting, sculpting, writing and singing her new vocations. She has a Masters of Arts in English and Creative writing. Gayle is a member of The Empress Bay Art Collective.

Elsie Louie and André Motuz

Elsie Louie and André Motuz are both members of the Aboriginal Committee for Empowerment, formed through Our Place.  This group hopes to showcase the artistic abilities of the First Nations People.  Elsie and André produce jewellery and contemporary bead crafting.

Deborah E. Norton

Deborah, an artist who hadn’t picked up a paintbrush in years became inspired in 2000 to paint again, after taking a Floral Design course.  She now creates abstracts and multi-media art work

Donna McKenna

A graduate of SFU’s Contemporary Arts program in Dance, Donna McKenna discovered painting much later in her life.  She feels that life is art, saying, “Life is the richest canvas, one that we create moment to moment, every single day.” Donna’s medium of choice is oil paints.

Eileen-Heather Pritchard

Eileen, the Art Festival’s event coordinator, will display a recent watercolour featuring her love of birds. She admittedly hasn’t done any art for years, but became inspired while working with the talented line up of artists who are participating in Cool Aid Culture.

Carol Russell

“Like the window on the shelves, the colour brown reminds me of chocolate in my paint brush, turning green, yellow, orange, red, blue, then yellow, then white!  I am an artist for tomorrow and I draw my paint brush in a circle, then a triangle, then a square, then a heart.”  Carol participated in the Seven Oaks Art Shows this year.

Patricia Smith

Jewellery maker Patricia Smith began her work while making crafts projects with her daughters.  She loves her work for its creative and therapeutic value, and finds both beading and photography fun. She says, “It’s not about the money. If I make someone smile, it’s all worth it.”

Yvonne Sproule

Yvonne Sproule is a jewellery designer, songwriter and singer.  She has travelled a great deal in her life, both in Canada and further abroad while working as a model.  Her wide range of interests add a great deal of depth to her work, both in jewellery design and in song writing.

Kerry Steinmann

Kerry takes his art to many outdoor environments in Victoria, and the Gulf Islands.  He is a Landscape Designer who is displaying his one of a kind piece of driftwood at the Cool Aid Culture Arts Festival. This titanic piece of wood, was reclaimed from the West Coast shoreline, cleaned and then hand detailed with paint.  You may reserve a bid on this large piece of “Natural Sculpture” to enhance your property or business and support Cool Aid as well.  Please go to www.landartdesigners.com to make a bid.

Joanne Thomson

Joanne Thomson is an enthusiastic and versatile artist, illustrator and art instructor.  You can often find her in the forest or along the shore with sketchbook and paints.  Her “Bottled” series presents darkly humorous paintings of human interaction. Joanne is one of the featured artists doing demonstrations at the Festival. Come and be one of the people painted in her bottle.

Nathan Tribull

A participant in the Seven Oaks Art Shows earlier this year, Nathan feels that art is a means of self-expression, encompassing all sorts of colors and shapes.  Although he was born in Ontario, he currently resides in Victoria.

Dale Whitford

Dale Whitford has been living with schizophrenia since his early 20s.  To him, art is a great coping instrument for keeping a balanced and healthy life. His paintings reflect his visions and hallucinations derived from his illness.  He was a part of the Seven Oaks Art Show earlier this year.

Jennie Whitman

A visual artist by choice, who deals with the illness of Schizophrenia, Jennie has submitted some watercolor and ink work for her part in the Empress Bay Art Collective exhibit.

E. Marie Williams

During the Cool Aid Culture event, Marie Williams will be displaying examples of her Native beadwork and retelling the history of beadwork (from dream catchers to earrings).  She is from the Squamish Nation, and she has been making and selling her beadwork for the past 13 years.

Martin Wright

Born in England, Martin came to Canada in 1967 to do freelance photography for Expo. He has featured other travels throughout Canada and Spain in his expansive portfolio.
A very creative and caring individual, Martin is also a musician when not doing his day gig in the Social Services field.

Social Media, RSS and Other Feeds

There are a wide variety of channels for you to choose from below. Social media curators are Alan Rycroft, Colby Young, Jennifer Tully, Michelle Letour. Our main feeds are “VicCoolAid” everywhere.

Social Media

Facebook Pages –

Unofficial Facebook Page (not curated by Cool Aid) –

Twitter – Follow @VicCoolAid for all the news

LinkedIn – The professional network

YouTube – Cool Aid’s video channel

Facebook Event Pages –

RSS and Other Feeds

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Community Council Joins Homeless Needs Survey Research Team

For Immediate Release: January 17, 2006

Victoria – The Victoria Cool Aid Society is pleased to announce a research partnership with the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria. Researcher Jane Worton has joined the team organizing the Homeless Needs Survey to provide guidance and assistance in research design, research implementation, statistical analysis, volunteer training and report writing.

“It was necessary to postpone the Homeless Needs Survey by a few weeks to give us more time to design and test the questionnaire, enumeration and training materials,” said Jane Worton.

The agency enumeration of those temporarily sheltered will now be conducted on Monday, February 5 at locations such as Street Link Shelter and the Native Friendship Centre. Questionnaires will be conducted by volunteers of those who are homeless and at risk of being homeless from Tuesday, February 6, through Friday, February 9.

“Building on our experience from the first Homeless Count, which was held two years ago this week, we have expanded and improved upon our original methodology,” said Kathy Stinson. “Rather than trying to find people where they sleep on a single night, our 250 volunteers will be meeting folks where they obtain services – at over 40 social service agencies throughout the capital region, from Sooke to Sidney and Salt Spring Island.”

As well the Salvation Army’s Beacon Bus has generously been loaned with volunteer drivers for the week so that the census of the region’s homeless population can also take place at a variety of outdoor locations such as parks and vacant lots.

“We are making a real effort to reach out this year to those who do not access traditional services,” said Worton. “As well, we want people who are in unstable or inadequate housing, and perhaps at risk of becoming homeless, to answer the questionnaire as well.”

The “snowball sampling” technique, taking place over four days, is designed to encourage people who are homeless to invite their peers to participate as well. In this way a larger data set from a wider variety of individuals can be collected.

Those who answer the questionnaire will be given a variety of needed resources to thank them for their time and opinions. The Homeless Needs Survey team is asking for donations to provide food and hot beverages at the survey locations and to assemble 1,000 kits to give away that will include items such as:

  • Gloves, mittens, socks and toques for the cold weather
  • Bottled water, food bars and dog biscuits
  • Re-useable coffee mugs
  • Good quality knapsacks
  • Toothbrushes, and small toothpastes and shampoos
  • Food for the survey locations, including coffee, tea, hot chocolate and soup, and healthy baked goods

    For more information about the Homeless Needs Survey visit Cool Aid’s web site at www.Coolaid.org.

– 30 –

Information:

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director, Victoria Cool Aid Society
or Don McTavish, Manager of Shelters
(250) 383-1977

Jane Worton, Researcher, Community Council
(250) 383-6166

Preliminary Enumeration and Homeless Needs Survey Results

For Immediate Release: March 2, 2007

Victoria – The Homeless Needs Survey, which was held from February 5-9, has identified 1,115 persons in the Capital Region who were homeless or unstably housed. [Note: Later revised upwards to 1,242 .]

An enumeration was conducted though a count in facilities which provide shelter to people who are homeless on Monday, February 5. The survey was conducted throughout the Capital Region from February 6-9, 2007, with questionnaires about housing needs completed by persons who were homeless or living in unstable housing. The questionnaire was conducted by over 200 volunteers indoors at over 40 social service provider locations and outdoors using the Salvation Army’s Beacon Bus.

“The Homeless Needs Survey will provide detailed and helpful information to over 60 participating service providers in the Capital Region,” said Kathy Stinson, the Executive Director of Cool Aid. “As well, the full research results will be shared with all levels of government and other community partners to help us better meet the needs of individuals and families who are inadequately housed in Greater Victoria.”

“The purpose of the survey was to gain a deeper understanding of what people who are homeless or unstably housed feel they need to find and maintain housing,” said Researcher Jane Worton of the Community Council. “We are grateful to the 815 people who completed questionnaires. They have shared personal information with us in order to help us provide better supports for the thousands of inadequately housed people in our community. We now have a wealth of good data to build action upon.”

The following table summarizes the enumeration and survey results:

Adults
Youth
(16-25)
Children (<16) Total
Male Female Transgender
Homeless 480 142 2 73 46 743
Unstable Housing 172 133 3 43 21 372
Total 652 275 5 116 67 1,115

“According to 2001 census data, 22,205 households in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area were inadequately housed,” said Jane Worton. “We were able to interview 372 individuals in this situation – and this will provide the most detailed data ever about this large group in our communities.”

Making up just 2.8% of the local population, Aboriginal people, including First Nations, Metis, Inuit and Native, comprised 25% of those interviewed.

Only 11% of those interviewed were from outside BC, with the vast majority being from the Capital Regional District (73%) and elsewhere in BC (16%), often as close as Duncan and Vancouver.

The Homeless Needs Survey found people were homeless or unstably housed in all parts of the Capital Region. Although just a sample of the total number of people who are inadequately housed, the geographic distribution of interviewed individuals follows:

  • 73% in the four core municipalities including –
    • 496 people from Victoria (61%)
    • 48 people from Saanich (6%)
    • 24 people from Esquimalt (3%)
    • 6 people from Oak Bay (1%)
    • 22 people from an unspecified core municipality (3%)
  • 4% in the Western Communities (33 people)
  • 3% on the Saanich Peninsula (22 people)
  • 4% on Salt Spring Island (32 people)
  • 16% did not provide their municipality (132 people)

Rural and outlying communities were particularly under-represented due to the few number of survey locations and because social service providers in more sparsely populated regions often do not see their clients as frequently as those in the more urban areas.

Homeless counts frequently note underreporting of families who are homeless. The information from the Homeless Needs Survey will be complemented by the rich information gathered through the Burnside Gorge Community Association’s recent Homeless Families Outreach Project, using interviews with 432 families who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

A more detailed demographics report is enclosed. The full research report for the Homeless Needs Survey will be released in late March or April after a full analysis can be completed.

The Government of Canada has contributed funding to this initiative. For more information visit www.Coolaid.org.

– 30 –

Information:    www.Coolaid.org

Kathy Stinson, Executive Director, Victoria Cool Aid Society
or Don McTavish, Manager of Shelters
(250) 383-1977

Jane Worton, Researcher, Community Council
(250) 383-6166


Survey Questionnaire

The Questionnaire completed by homeless and unstably housed persons from February 6-9, 2007 is available online as a Word document.


2007 Homeless Needs Survey Initial Demographics Report

The purpose of the Homeless Needs Survey was to gain a deeper understanding of what people who are homeless or unstably housed feel they need to find and maintain housing.
As well as providing this needed information, the Homeless Needs Survey included an enumeration of people who are homeless.

Enumeration process

On Monday February 5, facilities which provide shelter to people who are homeless (i.e. shelters, transition houses, jails) counted their residents. This was added to the number of people who came forward for interviews, identified as homeless and self reported not staying in a shelter facility Monday night.

Through the Homeless Needs Survey enumeration and interviews, 1,115 people who were homeless or unstably housed were identified, including 116 youth and 67 children.

Table 1: Homeless and Unstably Housed People Identified through Homeless Needs Survey

Adults
Youth
(16-25)
Children (<16) Total
Male Female Transgender
Homeless 480 142 2 73 46 743
Unstable Housing 172 133 3 43 21 372
Total 652 275 5 116 67 1,115

Table 2: How Homeless and Unstably Housed People were reached through Homeless Needs Survey

Adults
Youth
(16-25)
Children (<16) Total
Male Female Transgender
Enumeration 337 107 n/a 48 64 556
Interviews with homeless and unstably housed (exluding people enumerated) 315 168 5 68 3 559
Total 652 275 5 116 67 1,115

* Please note that while enumeration data from facilities did not record anyone who was transgendered, 5 people reported they stayed in a facility which was enumerated and they were transgendered.

Homeless

There are at least 743 people who are homeless in BC’s Capital Region. We know this is an undercount, as all homeless counts are. People have the right to choose not to be counted, and many people exercise that right. In both 2005 and 2007, some people either hid from the volunteers looking for homeless people or did not come forward to be interviewed.

Unstable housing

The 372 people who came forward to be interviewed and identified as being in unstable housing is a good sample of the population of people in this housing situation in our region, but is not intended to be a count.

In 2001 there were 22,205 households in core housing need in BC’s Capital Region. Similar to the definition of unstable housing, a household is identified as being in core housing need if they cannot find somewhere to live that is reasonably good condition and big enough for the household without spending more than 30% of their income on shelter .

Overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in homeless and unstably housed populations

25% of people who were homeless or unstably housed identified as First Nations, Aboriginal, Metis, Inuit or Native. This is 10 times larger than the percent of Aboriginal people in the overall population. The 2001 Statistics Canada Census reported 2.8% of the population in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area identified as Aboriginal.

Home grown homeless

A common myth about people who are homeless or unstably housed in our community is that most of these people came from outside of this region. The 2007 Homeless Needs Survey has provided further data to show this is not true. 73% of people who answered the question about what municipality they lived in when they were last stably housed reported living somewhere in the Capital Regional District. A further 16% reported living somewhere in BC, often only as far away as Duncan or Vancouver. Only 11% of people were from outside of BC.

People are homeless and unstably housed throughout BC’s Capital Region

Most participants (73%, 596 people) in the Homeless Needs Survey reported usually sleeping in one of the four core municipalities (Victoria 61%, 496 people; Saanich 6%, 48 people; Esquimalt 3%, 24 people; or Oak Bay 1%, 6 people). This was the first time the Homeless Needs Survey counted people in the Western Communities (4%, 33 people), the Peninsula (3%, 22 people) and on Saltspring Island (4%, 32 people). 132 people either did not know or did not answer the question about which municipality they usually slept in. The numbers for people sheltering outside of the core municipalities should be interpreted with additional caution. The lower numbers may reflect the smaller number of access points in these areas, different ways people in more rural areas access services, and communication of the Homeless Needs Survey overall outside of the core.

Underrepresentation of homeless and unstably housed families

Working closely with the Burnside Gorge Community Association, the Homeless Needs Survey identified a small number of families who were unstably housed or homeless at the time of the Homeless Needs Survey. It is particularly hard to capture a snapshot of homeless families when families experience homelessness in a fluid process; most families spend the duration of their homeless period in some combination of shelter arrangements, including transition houses, motels, family/friends, and on the street.

Identifying families experiencing homelessness is also more difficult as Burnside Gorge is the only local agency which provides outreach services specifically to families around housing issues. Where families who are homeless are accessing other services they are extremely unlikely to identify as homeless. Homeless counts frequently note underreporting of families who are homeless. The information from the Homeless Needs Survey will be complemented by the rich information gathered through the Burnside Gorge Community Association recent Homeless Families Outreach Project, using interviews with 432 families who were homeless or at risk of homelessness.

For more information

The full research report for the Homeless Needs Survey will be released in late March or April after a full analysis can be completed.

For questions about the above data, please contact Jane Worton, Researcher, Community Council at 383-6166 or Kathy Stinson, Executive Director, Victoria Cool Aid Society at 383-1977.

Homeless Needs Survey Research Report Issued

For Immediate Release: April 19, 2007

Victoria – The final research report of the Homeless Needs Survey, “Housing First – Plus Supports”, was released today by the Victoria Cool Aid Society, Community Council, Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe, and Saanich Councillor Judy Brownoff, representing the Capital Regional District.

The purpose of the Homeless Needs Survey (held February 5-9) was to gain a deeper understanding of what people who are homeless or unstably housed feel they need in order to find and maintain housing. Based on the survey of 815 homeless and unstably housed individuals in the Capital Region, from Sooke to Sidney and Salt Spring, the research report makes six basic recommendations:

  • Create a range of affordable housing options in the Capital Region.
  • Provide intensive community support for housing.
  • Provide a range of harm reduction and treatment services.
  • Provide income supports for people who are homeless or unstably housed.
  • Provide short-term solutions during the transition to affordable housing.
  • Engage the broader community in solutions.

“The survey provided a wealth of detailed information about what is needed by people in our community who are inadequately housed,” said Community Council Researcher Jane Worton. “It also dispelled some common myths about those who are homeless.”

  • Only 3% of the surveyed population do not want permanent housing.
  • 17% of homeless people have jobs, 32% are engaged in non-traditional work (e.g. “binning”), and 42% want help finding a job or a better job.
  • 78% identified the lack of affordable housing as their main barrier to being housed.
  • Homelessness is not imported: 73% are from the CRD and 16% from elsewhere in BC, mostly Duncan and Vancouver; only 11% are from elsewhere.
  • People are homeless throughout the region: 73% were from the four core municipalities, 4% from the Western Communities, 3% from the Saanich Peninsula, and 4% from Salt Spring; a further 16% did not disclose their municipality.

“All levels of government need to work together, alongside non-profit and private housing providers, to ensure that sufficient affordable housing, and appropriate supports, are available to those in need,” said Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe.

A CRD report released earlier this year showed that by following a housing-first policy, government could save over $9.5 million annually – $12,000 a year for each person who is homeless. Supported housing would also help marginalized citizens integrate better into the community and improve the quality of life for everyone in the region.

“Homelessness is devastating for the homeless and wasteful for society in the added costs it imposes on the health system, police, courts and corrections. It is also harmful to the safety and attractiveness of our communities,” said Saanich Councillor Judy Brownoff. “The Capital Regional District will play its part in helping eliminate homelessness by co-ordinating the efforts of all levels of government, business and the non-profit sector.”

41% of respondents said that having a community outreach worker would help them find and maintain housing. Many require low-barrier housing that emphasizes ease of entry and ongoing support services.

42% of participants would like help finding work. The needed supports they identified include many simple, low-cost supports and services that the community can easily provide:

  • Clothing, transportation (bus or other vehicle), trade tools and resumé assistance (75%).
  • A shower, phone, personal storage and alarm clock (67%).
  • Help to replace lost identification (56%).

Participants looking for work also asked for education and training (60%), accessible health and dental care, better physical and mental health care, and addiction or detox support and transition services (58%).

The top three factors cited by participants as contributing to their inadequate housing were alcohol or drug use (41%), medical problems (35%), and social or emotional challenges (27%). “We are recommending that a wide variety of primary health care and social services be located together in a single building in downtown Victoria,” said Kathy Stinson.

The enumeration numbers have been revised upwards from preliminary estimates after careful review of the data. The Homeless Needs Survey counted 1,242 persons throughout the Capital Region who were homeless or unstably housed. This is an under-reporting of the actual numbers of individuals and families who are inadequately housed.

The full research report is available on www.Coolaid.org in the Homeless Survey newsroom. The Government of Canada has contributed funding to this initiative.

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Information :     www.CoolAid.org    (search for Homeless Needs Survey)

Kathy Stinson , Executive Director, Cool Aid, (250) 383-1977

Don McTavish , Manager of Shelters, Cool Aid, (250) 383-1977

Jane Worton, Researcher, Community Council, (250) 383-6166

Mayor Alan Lowe, City of Victoria, (250) 361-0200

Saanich Councillor Judy Brownoff for the Capital Regional District, (250) 727-2008

 

The Executive Summary is below. The full research report “Housing First – Plus Supports” is also available as aWord or Adobe PDF document.


Housing First – Plus Supports

 

Executive Summary

“My story is no different than anybody else’s in this survey.
We are, always have been, and will always be able to love and be loved.”

 “Humans are our best resources. We should take care of them.”

 “We are all people and need to be treated as such.”

       – Survey participants

 

More than 1,242 of our neighbours in the Capital Region are homeless or nearly homeless. Above all, they need more than 1,242 housing units; affordable housing which is able to meet the many housing challenges they face. The homeless and nearly homeless also need more support workers to help them keep their new housing and to provide mental health and addictions care. And they need reliable and realistic income assistance, including help finding work.

  • Affordable housing is needed.
  • Health and housing support workers are needed.
  • Income supports need improvement.

Homelessness and Unstable Housing

The Homeless Needs Survey was a collaborative research project led by the Victoria Cool Aid Society. The question that this survey answers for the Capital Region is: “What housing and supports do people require when they are not housed or are in unstable housing?”

To answer this question an enumeration and a questionnaire survey were conducted from February 5 to 9, 2007, with over 60 social service providers and 220 volunteers participating throughout the Capital Region, from Sooke to Sidney and Salt Spring Island. Over 815 questionnaires were anonymously completed by citizens who were homeless or unstably housed and who felt able to share their personal information.

Homelessness was defined as, “being without a predictable, clean, safe residence to return to whenever one chooses.”

Unstable housing was defined as any of the following:

  • More than half of income is spent on rent.
  • An eviction notice has been issued, and no other housing is available.
  • Housing is overcrowded.
  • Housing does not meet basic health and safety standards.
  • Violence or abuse happens in the home.
  • The resident cannot stay in or return home whenever they choose.

The researchers believe that some subpopulations were under-represented in this survey. Such “undercounts” were more pronounced outside the four core municipalities, youth and children, Aboriginal people, people with mental health issues and families.

 

Survey Summary

The enumeration identified 1,242 persons throughout the Capital Region who were homeless or unstably housed – an undercount.

It is a common myth that many of the people who are homeless choose to be homeless. Our findings show that only a small percent (3%) of the population do not want permanent housing.

Homelessness is a regional problem that impacts more than downtown Victoria. Volunteer s surveyed 815 people and found that 73% were from the four core municipalities, 4% from the Western Communities, 3% from the Saanich Peninsula, and 4% from Salt Spring Island; 16% did not state a municipality.

Contrary to another common myth, homelessness is not imported into the Capital Region. It is a home-grown problem. Only 11% of those surveyed were from outside B.C., with 73% from the CRD, and 16% from elsewhere in B.C., mostly Duncan and Vancouver.

People who are homeless are of all ages. The youngest person interviewed was 14 years old and the oldest was 77. Two-thirds of participants (64%) identified themselves as male, 34% as female and 2% as transgendered or other.

While only 2.8% of the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area’s population are Aboriginal, one in four (25%) of those surveyed identified themselves as Aboriginal, First Nations, Métis, Inuit or Native. A disproportionate number of Aboriginal people are living without homes or are inadequately housed.

People reported that they cycle in and out of homelessness. Over half of the participants have been unstably housed for the last two years or longer, and 44% had been homeless more than twice in the last ten years.

 

Recommendations

More than anything, the Homeless Needs Survey shows that we need to provide more affordable housing options. The survey also points to the need for more health and housing supports, and the need to improve income supports for people who are homeless.

Six basic recommendations emerge:

  • Create a range of affordable housing options.
  • Provide intensive community support for housing.
  • Provide a range of harm reduction and treatment services.
  • Provide income supports for people who are homeless or unstably housed.
  • Provide short-term solutions during the transition to affordable housing.
  • Engage the broader community in solutions.

 

Create a range of affordable housing options.

Of those surveyed, 78% identified the lack of affordable housing as their main barrier to being housed. Our region needs many units of new and repurposed affordable housing, ranging from single rooms to family housing, and with both privately and publicly funded solutions contributing to the mix.

Diverse housing options are required to meet the variety of needs – especially low-barrier housing that emphasizes ease of entry and ongoing support services. Tenants need help to keep their housing. And many require housing that tolerates active addictions and mental health problems:

  • 48% of participants reported active alcohol or drug use.
  • 42% reported mental health issues.
  • 27% reported both alcohol or drug use and mental health issues.

All levels of government need to fund housing and related supports. A collaborative approach is needed, both vertical (all levels of government) and horizontal (across ministries), and including non-profit service providers and the broader community. Such a wide collaboration will ensure comprehensive housing solutions that include both bricks and mortar and adequate housing support services.

By following a housing-first policy, government could save at least $9.5 million taxpayer dollars annually in the Capital Region – $12,000 a year for each person who is homeless. A housing-first policy would improve the quality of life for all residents in the region and would help marginalized citizens better reintegrate into the community (source: Capital Regional District, 2007).

 

Provide intensive community support for housing.

In this survey, 41% of respondents said that having a community outreach worker would help them find and maintain housing. They said that they need advocates, assistance, supported housing, and easily accessed primary health care. A common thread throughout the questionnaires was the importance of community outreach workers to help people find, receive and maintain services, especially mental health and addictions services, as long as they are needed.

Community outreach workers should be in all involved agencies and should work together to ensure a continuous range of support, advocacy and referrals, including while a client’s housing situation is changing (such as after being evicted or released from hospital).

Workers linked in a community-based case management model would make some housing options more feasible (for example, subsidized market rentals). Supports should range from intensive support for mental health and addiction clients, to volunteers or peers who help tenants get to medical appointments and other important meetings. Community outreach workers could also reduce the significant number of incidents of discrimination that participants identified.

 

Provide a range of harm reduction and treatment services.

Health support workers are also needed. The top three factors cited by participants as contributing to their inadequate housing situation were alcohol or drug use (41%), medical problems (35%), and social or emotional challenges (27%). Participants looking for work also asked for education and training (60%), accessible health and dental care, better physical and mental health care, and addiction or detox support and transition services (58%).

Health is a critical component of the solution to the Capital Region’s housing challenge. We recommend that a wide variety of primary health care and social services be located together in a single building in downtown Victoria. The proposed ACCESS Health Centre will greatly improve the availability of addictions counselling, mental health services, and various other supports for the homeless and marginalized. It will help individuals and families stabilize and participate more fully in the wider society.

A community discussion was begun after this survey, involving both people who are homeless and many helping agencies; it is detailed at the end of this report. Their discussion developed more suggestions for ways our community can provide harm reduction and treatment services.

 

Provide income supports for people who are homeless or unstably housed.

People are homeless for a wide variety of reasons – everyone has a different story.

Many of them have jobs (17%), or are engaged in non-traditional work such as binning or squeegeeing (32%), and many more want help to find a job or a better job (42%). Many are unable to work due to physical or mental health challenges, including addictions.

In this survey, 65% of respondents reported receiving provincial government income assistance, including Employment and Income Assistance, Persons with Disability benefits and Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers benefits.

But many also often reported they had been denied income assistance benefits: 41% had been denied Employment and Income Assistance, and 29% had been denied benefits for Persons with Disability or Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers. Of those who had been denied, 80% were still not receiving income assistance and were not formally employed. Instead, they reported surviving by binning, panhandling, illegal activities, under-the-table jobs, sex work, squeegeeing, or with the help of family or friends.

Over two-fifths (42%) of participants want help finding work. The supports they said they need include many simple, low-cost supports and services that the community could easily provide: clothing, transportation, trade tools and resumé assistance; a shower, phone, personal storage and alarm clock; and help replacing lost identification.

The community discussion that followed this survey developed many other suggestions for ways government, businesses and social service agencies can give these people the employment support they need.

 

“I’ve been homeless for five years. At 17, I left home due to family systemic violent abuse.

I’m very willing to work, yet there are so many obstacles currently in my life.”

      – Survey participant

 

Provide short-term solutions during the transition to affordable housing.

Before this report was published, housing stakeholders and people without homes discussed the research project’s findings. They developed several possible short-term solutions that could make life easier for people while they are homeless or unstably housed.

Government and business offices could give these people better access to telephones. The municipalities and community centres could provide more free bathrooms and showers, and even community laundries. More winter night shelters need to be available. And research with homeless families could lead to providing them a proper emergency shelter.

 

Engage the broader community in solutions.

The post-survey community discussion also developed a few suggestions for ways in which individuals in our broader community can get more involved in solutions to homelessness. When teachers notice changes in children caused by housing stresses, for example, the school could offer extra supports to those families.

 

“Crime would likely be a lot less if there was more affordable housing. Drug problems would also be less. Without housing, people are on the street and lose heart and feel there is nothing they can do to change the situation, so go downhill mentally and physically.”

      – Survey participant

Partners with the Homeless Needs Survery

HNS_bannerThe Homeless Needs Survey would never have been possible without the strong assistance of people and organizations throughout the capital region. The Victoria Cool Aid Society would like especially to acknowledge and thank the following funding partners, over 40 social service providers who are enumeration and survey sites, and our incredible, hard-working volunteers and staff. (If we have missed you, our apologies – drop us a line to let us know.)

To learn more about those organizations and individuals who support Cool Aid visit our Partners page .

Major Funding Partners

Anounce Computers and Printers
Cadillac Homes
Canadian Home Builders Association
Capital Iron
Capital Regional District
City of Victoria
COBS Bread
Diamond Communications
District of Metchosin
District of North Saanich
DTI Computers
Fiber Options
Government of Canada
Kiwanis Rose Manor Seniors
The Ladybug Foundation
Leadership Victoria
Moore Paterson Architects
Oak Bay Kiwanis
Old Victoria Water Company
Regent Hotel
Salvation Army
Shaw Cablesystems
Shoppers Drug Mart
Steve Copp Construction
Thrifty Foods
Thrifty Foods James Bay
Times Colonist
Tom Harris Cellular
United Way
Vancity
Victoria Real Estate Board
VIHA – Vancouver Island Health Authority
and others!

Involved Social Service Providers and Agencies

AIDS Vancouver Island
Alano Club
BC Schizophrenia Society
Beacon Community Employment
Beacon Community Services
Beacon Out of the Rain Shelter
Blanshard Community Centre
Bridges for Women
Burnside Gorge Community Association
Central Saanich Police Department
Child and Familly Counselling Association (CAFCA)
Community Council
Cook & Quadra Medical Clinic
Cridge Centre for the Family
Downtown Community Activity Centre (Cool Aid)
Fernwood Community Centre
Hill House
Hulitan Social Services
James Bay Community Project
John Howard Society
Kiwanis Emergency Youth Shelter
Kiwanis House
Margaret Laurence House
Methadone Clinic
Mustard Seed
Native Friendship Centre
Nine-to-Ten Club
Our Place
Pacific Centre
Pacifica Housing
PEERS – Prostitutes Empowerment Education & Resource Society
Phoenix Human Services Association
REES Network – Research, Education, Employment & Support (Cool Aid)
Saanich Police
Saltspring Community Centre
Salvation Army
Sanctuary Youth Centre
Sandy Merriman House (Cool Aid)
Schizophrenia Society
Shoe Box
Sidney Food Bank
Sidney RCMP
Sooke Family Resource Centre
Sooke Transition House
Specialized Youth Detox (Ashgrove)
Spectrum Job Search
St. Saviour’s Anglican Church
St. John the Divine Food Bank
Streetlink Emergency Shelter (Cool Aid)
Threshold Youth Shelter
Umbrella Society for Addictions and Mental Health
Upper Room
Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre
Victoria AIDS Resource and Community Service Society (VARCS)
Victoria Cool Aid Society
Victoria Detox/Sobering and Assessment Centre
Victoria General Hospital
Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre
Victoria Police
Victoria Women’s Transition House
Westshore RCMP
Worklink
Youth Empowerment Society

Other Partners

Bottle Depot
Charlayne Thornton-Joe
Greater Victoria Public Library

Homeless Needs Survey Newsroom

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Homeless Needs Survey – Complete Research Report Issued

News Release – For Immediate Release: April 19, 2007

Victoria – The final research report of the Homeless Needs Survey, “Housing First – Plus Supports”, was released today by the Victoria Cool Aid Society, Community Council, Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe, and Saanich Councillor Judy Brownoff who represented the Capital Regional District.

The purpose of the Homeless Needs Survey (held February 5-9) was to gain a deeper understanding of what people who are homeless or unstably housed feel they need in order to find and maintain housing. Based on the survey of 815 homeless and unstably housed individuals in the Capital Region, from Sooke to Sidney and Salt Spring, the research report makes six basic recommendations:

  • Create a range of affordable housing options in the Capital Region.
  • Provide intensive community support for housing.
  • Provide a range of harm reduction and treatment services.
  • Provide income supports for people who are homeless or unstably housed.
  • Provide short-term solutions during the transition to affordable housing.
  • Engage the broader community in solutions.

Read Full News Release (including Executive Summary)
Full Research Report  (PDF or Word document)
Researcher Summarizes Findings (video)


 

Homeless Needs Survey – Preliminary Enumeration and Survey Results

News Release – For Immediate Release: March 2, 2007

Victoria – The Homeless Needs Survey, which was held from February 5-9, has identified 1,115 persons in the Capital Region who were homeless or unstably housed. [Note: Later revised upwards to 1,242.]

The following table summarizes the enumeration and survey results:

Adults
Youth
(16-25)
Children (<16) Total
Male Female Transgender
Homeless 480 142 2 73 46 743
Unstable Housing 172 133 3 43 21 372
Total 652 275 5 116 67 1,115

Read Full News Release


Community Council Joins Homeless Needs Survey Research Team

News Release – For Immediate Release: January 17, 2006

Victoria – The Victoria Cool Aid Society is pleased to announce a research partnership with the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria. Researcher Jane Worton has joined the team organizing the Homeless Needs Survey to provide guidance and assistance in research design, research implementation, statistical analysis, volunteer training and report writing.

Read Full Release

Homeless Needs Survey 2007

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Cool Aid sponsored the Victoria Homeless Needs Survey, held from Monday, February 5 through Friday, February 9, 2007. The full research report, “Housing First – Plus Supports“, is available online as well as an Executive Summary. Additional informational resources are available such as fact sheets and a presentation.

The objectives of this week-long event included:

  • Determining what it will take to give those who are homeless the services and housing that they need
  • Providing supportive research for effective policy development, service planning and fund development for all participating agencies
  • Raising public and community awareness of homelessness
  • Building upon communication and partnerships between service providers, business and government regarding homelessness
  • Producing a current estimate of how many people are homeless in our region

Enumeration

The Survey was a two-part project that included enumeration and volunteer-conducted questionnaires. The enumeration occurred on Monday, February 5, 2007. Facilities and agencies tallied homeless families and individuals who were either sheltered or otherwise served. The enumeration of individuals in shelters, institutions, motels and other locations was based on their nighttime occupancy on February 5, 2007.

Questionnaires

Brief (approximately 15-30 minutes) survey questionnaires and interviews consisted of an invitation to people who were homeless to identify themselves at about 50 survey locations throughout the Capital Region. These access points included approximately 40 service providers (e.g. food banks) and outdoor locations using the Salvation Army’s Beacon Bus. A short questionnaire provided an opportunity to connect with this population and gain insight into how many people are currently experiencing homelessness and the obstacles they face which prevent them from finding permanent housing. In addition to conducting these questionnaires, volunteers distributed supplies and food to those in need who visited the access points.

Volunteer Survey Teams

Volunteers were organized into teams which included two or more members:

    1. Surveyor: A homeless-experienced volunteer (referred by a service provider) and/or another community volunteer usually conducted the survey with persons who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. (Some who were surveyed elected to fill out the survey themselves.)
    2. Team Leader: survey teams had a third member, a professional who works with people who are homeless, who helped out and was responsible for the team’s safety, assisting with any challenging situations that arose.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still got questions? Check out our comprehensive online FAQ.


Contact Cool Aid

The Homeless Needs Survey 2007 has been completed. If you are interested in volunteering with Cool Aid on another project please visit the volunteer page.

Contact Alan Rycroft for more information about volunteering or about the Homeless Needs Survey.

Homeless Needs Survey Research and Resources

Research

The Executive Summary of the research report is reproduced below. The full research report “Housing First – Plus Supports ” is available as a Word or Adobe PDF document.

The survey questionnaire completed by homeless and unstably housed persons from February 6-9, 2007 is available online as a Word document.

Posters, Flyers and Schedule

Click on the recommendations and myths poster at the right to get a full version (1.5 Mb PDF). Digital copies of the organizing poster, flyer and schedule can be found below the Executive Summary.

PowerPoint Presentation

presentation summarizing the Homeless Needs Survey findings including common myths and the survey recommendations. Available in both print and PowerPoint formats (1.5 Mb each).

Fact Sheets

A series of seven facts sheets have been prepared summarizing the Homeless Needs Survey results:

  1. Quick Facts and Figures
  2. Quick Health Facts
  3. Housing Solutions
  4. Quick Youth and Families Facts
  5. Quick Aboriginal Facts
  6. Quick “Myths and Realities”
  7. Quick Summary

Executive Summary – Housing First – Plus Supports

“My story is no different than anybody else’s in this survey. We are, always have been, and will always be able to love and be loved.”

“Humans are our best resources. We should take care of them.”

“We are all people and need to be treated as such.” 

– Survey participants

More than 1,242 of our neighbours in the Capital Region are homeless or nearly homeless. Above all, they need more than 1,242 housing units; affordable housing which is able to meet the many housing challenges they face. The homeless and nearly homeless also need more support workers to help them keep their new housing and to provide mental health and addictions care. And they need reliable and realistic income assistance, including help finding work.

  • Affordable housing is needed.
  • Health and housing support workers are needed.
  • Income supports need improvement.

 

Homelessness and Unstable Housing

The Homeless Needs Survey was a collaborative research project led by the Victoria Cool Aid Society. The question that this survey answers for the Capital Region is: “What housing and supports do people require when they are not housed or are in unstable housing?”

To answer this question an enumeration and a questionnaire survey were conducted from February 5 to 9, 2007, with over 60 social service providers and 220 volunteers participating throughout the Capital Region, from Sooke to Sidney and Salt Spring Island. Over 815 questionnaires were anonymously completed by citizens who were homeless or unstably housed and who felt able to share their personal information.

Homelessness was defined as, “being without a predictable, clean, safe residence to return to whenever one chooses.”

  • Unstable housing was defined as any of the following:
  • More than half of income is spent on rent.
  • An eviction notice has been issued, and no other housing is available.
  • Housing is overcrowded.
  • Housing does not meet basic health and safety standards.
  • Violence or abuse happens in the home.
  • The resident cannot stay in or return home whenever they choose.

The researchers believe that some subpopulations were under-represented in this survey. Such “undercounts” were more pronounced outside the four core municipalities, youth and children, Aboriginal people, people with mental health issues and families.

Survey Summary

The enumeration identified 1,242 persons throughout the Capital Region who were homeless or unstably housed – an undercount.

It is a common myth that many of the people who are homeless choose to be homeless. Our findings show that only a small percent (3%) of the population do not want permanent housing.

Homelessness is a regional problem that impacts more than downtown Victoria. Volunteer s surveyed 815 people and found that 73% were from the four core municipalities, 4% from the Western Communities, 3% from the Saanich Peninsula, and 4% from Salt Spring Island; 16% did not state a municipality.

Contrary to another common myth, homelessness is not imported into the Capital Region. It is a home-grown problem. Only 11% of those surveyed were from outside B.C., with 73% from the CRD, and 16% from elsewhere in B.C., mostly Duncan and Vancouver.

People who are homeless are of all ages. The youngest person interviewed was 14 years old and the oldest was 77. Two-thirds of participants (64%) identified themselves as male, 34% as female and 2% as transgendered or other.

While only 2.8% of the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area’s population are Aboriginal, one in four (25%) of those surveyed identified themselves as Aboriginal, First Nations, Métis, Inuit or Native. A disproportionate number of Aboriginal people are living without homes or are inadequately housed.

People reported that they cycle in and out of homelessness. Over half of the participants have been unstably housed for the last two years or longer, and 44% had been homeless more than twice in the last ten years.

Recommendations

More than anything, the Homeless Needs Survey shows that we need to provide more affordable housing options. The survey also points to the need for more health and housing supports, and the need to improve income supports for people who are homeless.

Six basic recommendations emerge:

  1. Create a range of affordable housing options.
  2. Provide intensive community support for housing.
  3. Provide a range of harm reduction and treatment services.
  4. Provide income supports for people who are homeless or unstably housed.
  5. Provide short-term solutions during the transition to affordable housing.
  6. Engage the broader community in solutions.

Create a range of affordable housing options.

Of those surveyed, 78% identified the lack of affordable housing as their main barrier to being housed. Our region needs many units of new and repurposed affordable housing, ranging from single rooms to family housing, and with both privately and publicly funded solutions contributing to the mix.

Diverse housing options are required to meet the variety of needs – especially low-barrier housing that emphasizes ease of entry and ongoing support services. Tenants need help to keep their housing. And many require housing that tolerates active addictions and mental health problems:

  • 48% of participants reported active alcohol or drug use.
  • 42% reported mental health issues.
  • 27% reported both alcohol or drug use and mental health issues.

All levels of government need to fund housing and related supports. A collaborative approach is needed, both vertical (all levels of government) and horizontal (across ministries), and including non-profit service providers and the broader community. Such a wide collaboration will ensure comprehensive housing solutions that include both bricks and mortar and adequate housing support services.

By following a housing-first policy, government could save at least $9.5 million taxpayer dollars annually in the Capital Region – $12,000 a year for each person who is homeless. A housing-first policy would improve the quality of life for all residents in the region and would help marginalized citizens better reintegrate into the community (source: Capital Regional District, 2007).

Provide intensive community support for housing.

In this survey, 41% of respondents said that having a community outreach worker would help them find and maintain housing. They said that they need advocates, assistance, supported housing, and easily accessed primary health care. A common thread throughout the questionnaires was the importance of community outreach workers to help people find, receive and maintain services, especially mental health and addictions services, as long as they are needed.

Community outreach workers should be in all involved agencies and should work together to ensure a continuous range of support, advocacy and referrals, including while a client’s housing situation is changing (such as after being evicted or released from hospital).

Workers linked in a community-based case management model would make some housing options more feasible (for example, subsidized market rentals). Supports should range from intensive support for mental health and addiction clients, to volunteers or peers who help tenants get to medical appointments and other important meetings. Community outreach workers could also reduce the significant number of incidents of discrimination that participants identified.

Provide a range of harm reduction and treatment services.

Health support workers are also needed. The top three factors cited by participants as contributing to their inadequate housing situation were alcohol or drug use (41%), medical problems (35%), and social or emotional challenges (27%). Participants looking for work also asked for education and training (60%), accessible health and dental care, better physical and mental health care, and addiction or detox support and transition services (58%).

Health is a critical component of the solution to the Capital Region’s housing challenge. We recommend that a wide variety of primary health care and social services be located together in a single building in downtown Victoria. The proposed ACCESS Health Centre will greatly improve the availability of addictions counselling, mental health services, and various other supports for the homeless and marginalized. It will help individuals and families stabilize and participate more fully in the wider society.

A community discussion was begun after this survey, involving both people who are homeless and many helping agencies; it is detailed at the end of this report. Their discussion developed more suggestions for ways our community can provide harm reduction and treatment services.

Provide income supports for people who are homeless or unstably housed.

People are homeless for a wide variety of reasons – everyone has a different story.

Many of them have jobs (17%), or are engaged in non-traditional work such as binning or squeegeeing (32%), and many more want help to find a job or a better job (42%). Many are unable to work due to physical or mental health challenges, including addictions.

In this survey, 65% of respondents reported receiving provincial government income assistance, including Employment and Income Assistance, Persons with Disability benefits and Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers benefits.

But many also often reported they had been denied income assistance benefits: 41% had been denied Employment and Income Assistance, and 29% had been denied benefits for Persons with Disability or Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers. Of those who had been denied, 80% were still not receiving income assistance and were not formally employed. Instead, they reported surviving by binning, panhandling, illegal activities, under-the-table jobs, sex work, squeegeeing, or with the help of family or friends.

Over two-fifths (42%) of participants want help finding work. The supports they said they need include many simple, low-cost supports and services that the community could easily provide: clothing, transportation, trade tools and resumé assistance; a shower, phone, personal storage and alarm clock; and help replacing lost identification.

The community discussion that followed this survey developed many other suggestions for ways government, businesses and social service agencies can give these people the employment support they need.

“I’ve been homeless for five years. At 17, I left home due to family systemic violent abuse. I’m very willing to work, yet there are so many obstacles currently in my life.” 

– Survey participant

Provide short-term solutions during the transition to affordable housing.

Before this report was published, housing stakeholders and people without homes discussed the research project’s findings. They developed several possible short-term solutions that could make life easier for people while they are homeless or unstably housed.

Government and business offices could give these people better access to telephones. The municipalities and community centres could provide more free bathrooms and showers, and even community laundries. More winter night shelters need to be available. And research with homeless families could lead to providing them a proper emergency shelter.

Engage the broader community in solutions.

The post-survey community discussion also developed a few suggestions for ways in which individuals in our broader community can get more involved in solutions to homelessness. When teachers notice changes in children caused by housing stresses, for example, the school could offer extra supports to those families.

“Crime would likely be a lot less if there was more affordable housing. Drug problems would also be less. Without housing, people are on the street and lose heart and feel there is nothing they can do to change the situation, so go downhill mentally and physically.” 

– Survey participant

Posters, Flyers and Schedule – Homeless Needs Survey

Homeless Needs Survey promotional poster

The Homeless Needs Survey has a poster and flyer that can be used to tell people about the event.

Agencies 

If you are an agency please click on the poster image at the right to pick up a Homeless Needs Survey poster in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. It is very large (about 7 Mb) and may take a while to download.

We would appreciate your displaying it prominently at any site where the survey is taking place or in the immediate vicinity. It can be printed on 8.5 x 11 or 11 x 17 paper.

Please customize the poster by printing on the name of your agency above the dates, and adding below the hours (time) that the surveys will be taking place at your location. (See the schedule below.) If you have any questions please call 414-4781 or email Cool Aid .

Members of the Public 

If you are not a social service provider participating in the Homeless Needs Survey but would like to put up the poster somewhere else please use this more generic posterinstead.

Flyer

Promotional flyer for Homeless Needs SurveyThe Homeless Needs Survey team has also created a flyer which can be handed out to people who are homeless, or folks who are living in unstable housing situations. Click on the flyer at the left to download a copy.

On the back of the flyer is a copy of the schedule where people can take the survey. The schedule is also reproduced below for your information.

8,000 Pairs of Socks Donated to Capital Region’s Homeless

Victoria – The Victoria Cool Aid Society and Congregation Emanu-El are pleased to announce that 8,000 quality pairs of socks worth $40,000 have been donated by McGregor Socks (Toronto) to people in the Capital Region who are homeless and poor. The media are invited to a news conference to learn about socks and health and view the distribution of socks to local social service providers. The news conference is Wednesday, September 19, at 10 am at the Streetlink emergency shelter, 1634 Store Street (entrance on Wharf Street).

“Of all the gifts we receive, the importance of socks cannot be overemphasized,” said Rev. Al Tysick of Our Place. “A gift of socks is a gift of health for our neighbours who are homeless.”

“The parts of the body that suffer the most among people who are homeless are their feet,” said Don McTavish, Cool Aid’s manager of shelters. “Twice now Congregation Emanu-El and McGregor Socks have stepped up with a very generous contribution of thousands of badly needed socks for people who are homeless. This year, we are delighted to share those socks with 15 different social service providers who will put them into the hands of those who need them most this fall and winter.”

The socks are currently stored in the basement of Streetlink shelter taking up “about a cord and a half” of room. There will be an opportunity for the media to photograph the 8,000 pairs of socks as some of them are removed for delivery to caring agencies.

Faith plays a key role in the involvement of Synagogue members in social action explained Rabbi Harry Brechner. “The Torah says that we are to love our neighbours as ourselves. I want to wake up in a warm bed. I want warm socks on my feet. And I want these simple things for my neighbours as well.”

“People who are homeless often have traumatized feet and good socks are essential to their health,” said Anne Drost, a nurse with Cool Aid’s Community Health Centre. “A good pair of socks provides warmth and helps prevent fungal foot infections and prevent blisters, or is part of the treatment plan for these ailments.” Nice, warm socks are critical during Victoria’s cold and wet winter season and always in short supply.

“Homelessness is everyone’s responsibility,” said Michael Bloomfield of Avodah, the Synagogue’s social action group. “When I realized the desperate need for socks I asked McGregor Industries for help. I was thrilled by their generous response to our call for socks for homeless people in our community.” When Michael Bloomfield arranged the first gift of 7,000 socks from McGregor two years ago, he mentioned the high cost of shipping to Susan Knowler of RBC Dominion Securities who offered to pay for shipping the next donation of socks. She, along with Paul Hawken, who spoke in June at a Victoria conference on sustainable community development, generously paid for the large shipment to the Streetlink emergency shelter.

“Our mission has always been to create products that ‘bring comfort to body and soul’,” said Rick Hastings of McGregor Socks. “Partnering with these social service agencies in the Capital Region will allow us to extend that comfort to thousands of our neighbours who need a little comfort. The same spirit that has helped us grow this organization as a family-managed business over the past 80 years will continue to drive us in a partnership that I know will be strong and enduring.”

Victoria Cool Aid Society provides primary health care services, supported housing, emergency shelter, life skills training and job placements to marginalized adults in the Victoria area, in a non-judgemental way. For more information visit www.CoolAid.org or call 383-1977.

Congregation Emanu-El is Canada’s oldest synagogue, originally built in 1863, and in continuous use since that time. Avodah is Congregation Emanu-El’s social action group. Ongoing projects include preparing hot meals, collecting socks and food, and supporting local organizations dedicated to serving those most in need in our city, particularly homeless youth and adults.

McGregor Socks is a subsidiary of McGregor Industries Toronto, Canada. McGregor was founded in 1928 by the Lipson family and today is still led by 3rd generation family members. The companies’ major source of revenue is from the development and marketing of better Men’s and Women’s socks and this specialization allows the company to maintain a high level of expertise and leadership in this market. Head office/showrooms are located in Toronto, New York and London. The company distributes a wide range of Licensed, National Brands and Private Label products through an extensive International sales network. Its customer base includes 10,000 points of sale within better department, specialty, discount and chain store retailers in over 30 countries.

– 30 –

Information:    www.CoolAid.org     www.congregation-emanu-el.org

Don McTavish, Manager of Shelters, Cool Aid, (250) 383-1977
Anne Drost, Nurse, Cool Aid, (250) 383-1977
Rabbi Harry Brechner, Congregation Emanu-El, (250) 382-0615
Michael Bloomfield, Avodah, Congregation Emanu-El, (250) 380-3001
Rick Hastings, McGregor Socks, (604) 417-1226


Socks and Health Facts

  • When you do not have a home you spend a significant amount of your time standing and waiting in lines. It is hard to keep your feet warm and dry and your feet suffer a lot of abuse – moreso than other parts of your body.
  • Good clean socks help prevent both fungal infections and blisters.
  • Prevention of blisters prevents secondary foot infections that require antibiotic treatment.
  • A patient with a foot fungal infection is encouraged to change into clean socks frequently.
  • Good socks are more important for those who suffer with neuropathy in their feet, like diabetics and those with AIDS neuropathy, as they have reduced sensation and cannot feel when they are developing sores and blisters.

Publications, Research and Information

Suggestions, Compliments and Complaints

We want to hear from you, whether it’s a compliment, a suggestion or a complaint. Thank you for filling in the form to help us provide better service. We will get back to you.

Community-Based Health Research

More Research


Latest Cool Aid Research: Equity-Based Hepatitis C Treatment

Abstract – Background

Knowledge is increasing regarding effective models of Hepatitis C (HCV) care for people who inject drugs (PWID). However, examples implementing such models in primary care are lacking, leaving a gap in our applied understanding of how practically we best scale-up such care: this is critical and urgent if the benefits of treatment advances are to be realized for PWID.

Full report available online until November 8, 2015.

Cool Aid HCV Research Poster A case study

The Cool Aid Community Health Centre (CHC) provides HCV programming for PWID, putting recent advances into practice. A case study of the CHC’s HCV programming describes the practice experience and outcomes of its novel, multidisciplinary, primary care, inner-city HCV treatment program for PWID. This paper describes how this model of care functions to address the many barriers to treatment and successfully facilitate adherence to treatment.

Conclusion

Medical advances for HCV will be ineffectual without effective management of complex barriers to care related to substance use, mental health, trauma, poverty, homelessness, criminalization, cultural issues, stigma and marginalization. HCV treatment for PWIDs benefits from low-threshold settings which are culturally appropriate and where trusting relationships between clients and providers are nurtured. Public investment in primary care treatment for PWID living with HCV, including investments in supports that address the social barriers faced by these vulnerable populations would build on existing evidence and improve HCV outcomes for PWID.

Keywords

Hepatitis C, HCV, Drug use, PWID, Community Health Centre, Primary care, Health

Authors

Rozalyn Milne, Dr. Morgan Price, Bruce Wallace, Anne Drost, Irene Haigh-Gidora, Dr. Frank A. Nezil, Dr. Chris Fraser

Report Details

Article title: From principles to practice: Description of a novel equity-based HCV primary care treatment model for PWID
Reference: DRUPOL1608
Journal title: International Journal of Drug Policy
First author: Rozalyn Milne
Final version published online: 19-SEP-2015
Full bibliographic details: International Journal of Drug Policy 26 (2015), pp. 1020-1027 DOI information: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2015.07.009
Available online until Nov. 8, 2015: www.ijdp.org/article/S0955-3959%2815%2900210-8/fulltext

Research at Cool Aid Community Health Centre

Since 1999, the Victoria Cool Aid Society has been engaged in community-based research to improve access to dental care for people living on low incomes. The research has included many collaborators but with the consistent lead of principal investigator Bruce Wallace.

Initial research sought to raise awareness of the financial barriers to accessing dental care and possible responses. The report Brushed Aside: Poverty and Dental Care in Victoria (2000) was utilized by a Steering Group as evidence of the need and local strategies in providing care. The next report, Towards a Downtown Community Dental Clinic in Victoria (2001) presented a proposed model for a reduced-fee dental clinic for downtown Victoria, British Columbia. This report provided new research from key stakeholder interviews, a literature review, and a review of existing clinics in the province.

In 2002, a Community Dental Clinic was developed as part of the Victoria Cool Aid Society’s Community Health Centre. With the support of solid partnerships, and three years of evidence from the community-action research processes, the Community Health Centre was able to secure an annual subsidy from the Vancouver Island Health Authority to support the ongoing operations of the clinic.

Research has continued since that time to learn how to improve dental services in the province.

Publications are available below.


Improving Access to Dental Services for Low-Income Adults in BC

Throughout British Columbia people are responding to this public health need primarily by creating community-based dental care programs. The research informs community-based responses and government policies to effectively reduce oral health disparities in BC by reducing the financial barriers for adults’ accessing dental care. Findings are used to inform a coordinated, evidence-based strategy that ensures best clinical practices while improving access for the most economically vulnerable citizens.

Cool Aid is the lead on these collaborative research projects, in partnership with the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group (VIPIRG), and with government (BC Ministry of Health) and academic (Universty of British Columbia Faculty of Dentistry) researchers.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society’s Community Health Services and the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group (VIPIRG) collaborated on action research projects in 2000 and 2001 – research that effectively defined the needs, outlined a feasible response, and ultimately informed the ongoing funding of the Cool Aid Dental Clinic. While the dental clinic helps hundreds of local residents who would otherwise not access dental care, Cool Aid’s continued research can support the development of best practices – both sustainable treatment options such as the clinic and also informing public health policy.

In 2008, Cool Aid and VIPIRG applied for and received funding to undertake research with the overall goal of improving access to dental services for low-income adults in BC. A research report was produced that describes the growth of community-based dental care programs in BC (such as the Cool Aid Dental Clinic) and which sought to better understand the possibilities and limits of community-based responses to provincial oral health disparities. The research found that there exists little data on communities’ oral health needs, no evaluations of existing community-based responses, and overall, a growth-without-planning situation rather than a comprehensive, systematic, and sustainable response to oral health care needs across the province.

In 2009, a research report was completed that surveyed dental provincial services for low-income British Columbians to learn about barriers to oral health care in the province.


Research Publications


Access to Dental Care for Low-income Residents of Campbell-River and Courtenay-Comox (2010)

The objective of this research was to investigate access to dental care issues and possible barriers for low-income adults in the North Vancouver Island communities of Campbell River and Courtenay-Comox. Cool Aid is proud to be a host site for this report that was produced by Bruce Wallace with funding from the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) and supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grant held by the UBC Faculty of Dentistry.

Through 60 interviews this research project explores the experiences and perspectives of low income people, local dentists and health and social service providers. Overall, the research heard from both dentists and low-income patients that the current service delivery model and payment options are not working well for either party and that while respondents overwhelmingly consider affordability (financial access) to be the predominant barrier to accessing care, the related issues of availability (physical access) and acceptability (cultural access) must also be addressed if access is to be improved. The findings from these North Vancouver Island communities are not unique to evidence from throughout British Columbia and elsewhere. Rather, the research provides a local example of the oral health inequities known to prevail in Canada. However, while the needs in Campbell River and Courtenay-Comox may reflect the inequities found elsewhere, there are few or no local resources for people who seek dental care but are unable to afford or access treatment.

A Case Study of Five Community Dental Clinics in British Columbia (2009)

This report provides evidence collected from a case study of five community-based dental clinics providing dental care to communities facing financial and other barriers to oral health care in BC. Building on our previous research, the findings form part of a larger research project regarding strategies to reduce oral health care disparities in BC. A principal mandate of community dental clinics is to ensure access for vulnerable populations, and community dental clinics often have difficulty providing care at the reduced fees paid for patients on welfare and other government benefit programs. The objective of this study was to collect information on five community dental clinics in BC that provide dental services to economically disadvantaged communities to determine how their operations might be sustained.

Improving Access to Dental Services for Low-Income Adults in BC (2008)

This study examines the ways communities throughout British Columbia are trying to improve access to dental services for low-income adults. The community projects surveyed help thousands of British Columbians who otherwise could not access dental care, and found that they are inadequate to solve the dental access problem in BC. A coordinated, evidence-based strategy that recognizes the diverse needs of individuals and communities, and ensures best clinical practices, while improving access for the most economically vulnerable citizens would be prudent, considering the current growth-without-planning situation in the province.

Towards a Downtown Community Dental Clinic in Victoria (2001)

This report is a call to action. Information is presented from over a dozen key informant interviews as well as relevant literature and an inventory of existing dental clinics in British Columbia. A proposal for a downtown dental clinic in Victoria BC is outlined based on the consultations with stakeholders and review of existing clinics.

Brushed Aside: Poverty and Dental Care in Victoria (2000)

This exploratory, action-research project by the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group (VIPIRG) clearly documents how poverty is preventing people from obtaining necessary dental care. The report presents findings based on a survey of 150 people living on low incomes in Victoria BC. The many quotes from the surveys tell how untreated dental problems become increasingly painful and how what starts as a small toothache becomes a barrier to employment and affects one’s overall health and well-being. A recommended local response is the development of a reduced-fee dental clinic in Victoria to fill the immediate needs, while other recommendations seek larger policy changes.