Camp Out To End Youth Homelessness in Kamloops falling short of $50,000 goal | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Camp Out To End Youth Homelessness in Kamloops falling short of $50,000 goal

A Way Home Kamloops is still looking for more donations for the Camp Out to End Youth Homelessness fundraiser.
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December 09, 2019 - 3:00 PM

An annual fundraiser aimed to help house young people experiencing homelessness in Kamloops is looking for more donations to reach its goal.

This year’s Camp Out To End Youth Homelessness held by A Way Home Kamloops will take place this Friday, Dec. 13. The money collected through the fundraiser goes towards the Housing First program for youth ages 16 to 25.

According to A Way Home Kamloops executive director, Katherine McParland, this year has been challenging in reaching or getting close to the $50,000 goal. As of today, Dec. 9, the fundraiser has raised approximately $27,000.

“We have now gone over 50 per cent but we are still quite a ways away from our goal,” McParland says. “In previous years, we were definitely doing better for fundraising goals at this point in time so we are very worried and concerned we won’t achieve our $50,000 goal.”

Last year’s goal was $100,000 and the fundraiser ended up raising $52,500 in total.

“We are beginning to become more aware of the cost of doing this work,” she says, adding that last year the program was unable to house 75 youth due to insufficient funding.

“Even though our goal is $50,000, the need is so much more,” McParland says.

The funding allows A Way Home Kamloops to take over the lease of apartments or rentals for youth to move into the community. Through the program, the youth receive case management and life skills support. At the end of the year, the youth take over the lease and it becomes their permanent home.

In 2018, 136 youth had identified as having experienced homelessness in the past year, according to McParland. Of the 136, 86 said they had experienced absolute homelessness which means living on the street and shelters.

“Other kids were experiencing hidden homelessness or having to trade sexual favours in order to have a safe place to be,” she says.

Today, more safe suites were opened on the North Shore to provide a place for homeless youth.

"We will be providing a safe place for six homeless youth-to-be for Christmas,” she says. “We have received funding for 24/7 staffing so there will always be someone (there) to support the youth.”

For this Friday’s fundraiser, more than 40 people have signed up to camp out in cardboard boxes and tents at McDonald Park.

To make a donation online visit the A Way Home Kamloops website by going here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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