Realities, Solutions & Opportunity for Community
Dialogue on Youth Homelessness
(Photo credit: Raven Whitehead)
Youth who participated in the city’s first ever targeted count of homeless youth as part of the Metro Vancouver Homeless Count 2011 are presenting their stories of homelessness here in our backyard in a PhotoVoice & Art Project Exhibition hosted by the Greater Vancouver Shelter Strategy (GVSS) to highlight critical regional issues around youth homelessness.
In Our Backyard is a photo storytelling series and art exhibition which runs Wednesday May 4th & Thursday May 5th (12pm –6pm), Friday May 6th (12pm –10pm) with an Artists talk by the youth from 730pm-930pm and Saturday, May 7th from 12pm – 4pm with a film screening from 2pm-3pm. The exhibition is being held at Gallery Gachet (88 Cordova Street East, Vancouver). Admission is by donation. Seventy percent of all proceeds from donations and sales of the photos go to participating members of the GVSS Youth Action Squad, with the remainder covering costs of the exhibition itself.
While Canada has yet to obtain accurate statistics on the actual number of homeless, the nation wide population is estimated to be close to 300, 000, with an estimated population of 150,000 street-involved youth on any given day in this country.
In our Backyard showcases photos taken and art work created by seven youth participants, each member part of a team who identify themselves as the GVSS Youth Action Squad (YAS) and have all experienced homelessness within the Greater Vancouver region. As part of the Homeless Voices/Call to Action Project 2011, the YAS which the youth have been involved in for the past 5 months has served as a foundation for these young people to find a voice in their community by sharing their stories and solutions to ending youth homelessness throughout the region.
“Got me to stay out the street life…Made me realize that I am capable of anything” – Youth Participant #1
“I acquired public speaking skills, interaction skills and also a newfound knowledge regarding homelessness” – Youth Participant #2
“Thankful for what I have” – Youth Participant #3
“I now know that couch surfing is not a home…I feel that I have made a difference with my participation.” – Youth Participant #4
The YAS Team is part of the Homeless Voices 2011 Project initiated by the Greater Vancouver Shelter Strategy (GVSS), a ground-breaking regional network of organizations responding together since 1998 to meet the needs of people who are homeless or at risk (formerly known as the Lower Mainland Cold/Wet Weather Strategy). GVSS members are organizations actively involved in meeting emergency shelter needs: providing, funding, or otherwise actively involved with shelter services. A list of GVSS membership and additional information on the GVSS can be found on their website at: http://www.gvss.ca.
The project has been generously supported by Coast Capital Savings and the United Way of the Lower Mainland.
For more info please contact the Project Facilitator Natasha Van Borek by phone 778-858-0004 or via email at Natasha.VanBorek@gmail.com.