New strategies for homeless youth

Dr. Steven Gaetz of York University presented a talk to the Youth Housing Network on July 5, 2011 outlining the Canadian situation with regard to youth homelessness and several initiatives being taken in other jurisdictions around the world. His major message was that all levels of government have to stop looking at youth homelessness in terms of an “emergency (shelter) response” and spend much more in resources in terms of prevention and intervention, that is, preventing youth from becoming homeless and removing youth as quickly as possible from the street.  Dr. Gaetz is the founder of “homelesshub,” a website that acts as a central exchange for networking and homeless research in Canada. Check it out:

Annual General Meeting

The Threshold Housing Society held its 2011 Annual General Meeting on June 22 at Saint John the Divine Rectory. President Richard Couch gave a thorough and thoughtful accounting of the Society over the last year in terms of finances, programs and changes to the constitution.  Reports were also heard from the Treasurer (Bob Porter) and the Executive Director. It was a great opportunity to meet old and new members as well as those wishing to become Board Members.


Congratulations to the Native Friendship Centre Of Victoria

Congratulations to the Native Friendship Centre (Regina Street) on the occasion of their first pole raising ceremony (June 21). It was a colourful affair, attended by hundreds of well-wishers. The Threshold Housing Society is especially proud of one of our residents who is currently staying with us and worked on the pole. The wood is Red Cedar and the pole is Coast Salish in its conception.  The totem embodies the interconnected nature of the world symbolized by the weaving nature of the roots that join together both animal and human figures.


Art Skills to Life Skills

Thanks to a grant from the Queen Alexandra Foundation, the Threshold Housing Society will be running an innovative in-house program for residents who reside in our houses. Through various mediums, the program will teach basic skills to reach self-sufficiency. The idea of self-sufficiency is based on the need for self-care and self-love, that is, to ensure that each resident has the self-esteem necessary to seek out decent accommodation, good clothing, nutritious food, the means to keep clean, and the has ability to plan for the future. Such are the building blocks for moving youth from transitional housing to independent housing. The program will be facilitated by Peggy English of Unstuck Coaching who has agreed to assist us in this pilot project.

Killer donation

Have you read any good books lately?

Threshold Housing Society would like to acknowledge the very kind donation of some 75 books from Orca Book Publishers that will be placed in each of our houses.  Over the years, Orca publications have been a “best seller” to many youths, especially the “Sounding” series which often go missing as youths leave and move on.  But we don’t care!  It is wonderful to find a book you love to read and wish to pass it on for others to read as well.  What makes this series so popular are the compelling plots, authentic dialogue, easily recognizable characters, and the fact that authors aren’t afraid to use controversial language.  It has been wonderful to watch youths take up reading again once they have a stable housing situation with a warm room and safe environment.  Thanks Orca!


Thank you Belfry Theatre!

On March 15th, 2011, The Belfry Theatre sponsored the staging of “The Middle Place,” a play that aptly depicts the life of youths staying in a youth shelter. Using a process called “verbatim theatre,” the play used the voices of real youths staying in a youth shelter to express the pain and trauma of such a situation on their lives. The play was an initiative of Project Humanity and has toured in Toronto, Ottawa, Victoria and Calgary. The play’s major purpose was to bring to light the blight of over 65,000 homeless Canadian youth. The proceeds of the March 15th evening were donated to the Threshold Housing Society. The Society expresses its gratitude to the Belfry Theatre, Project Humanity and the wonderful cast of actors who performed this important play.

Support a Youth Homelessness Day in Canada

Youth Homelessness is a Canadian issue. Spearheaded by the Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson, and Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett, there is a concerted effort to have November 17th acclaimed Youth Homelessness Awareness in Canada. Currently there is an estimated 65,000 homeless youth in the country. Last year a survey of 1000 Canadians was conducted by the charitable arm of the Virgin Group to specifically investigate people’s understanding about the issue. The survey showed that 87 per cent of the respondents didn’t have an understanding of the scope of the problem.  To learn more, please watch the following:

Langham Court Theatre Fundraiser

The Threshold Housing Society held a fundraising event in conjunction with Langham Court Theatre on March 3, 2011. A reception with a silent auction was held prior to the opening night of a play entitled “The Lady in the Van,” by Allen Bennett. The play is centered on the true story of the relationship between the author and a homeless woman who camped in the author’s garden for fifteen years.  The performance was superb with a wonderful cast that captured with heart the author’s complex message about homelessness and our response as a society to this difficult problem.  Special thanks to the Theatre Manager, Denise Brown, whose professional and courteous assistance made this an enjoyable evening for everyone.

A year in our new home!

February 22, 2011 marks the first year anniversary of Mitchell House’s new location in the Oak Bay vicinity. The new location and house is fabulous. The floor plan is spacious and the kitchen area central. The House Mentor, Graham Kelly, celebrated the anniversary with a house meeting and a big cake. The anniversary coincides with the arrival of two new residents. Rick Sandberg is the Weekend Mentor at Mitchell House and also our Webmaster. Congratulations Graham and Rick.

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