Home Depot and Airdrie Boys and Girls Club team up to end homelessness
By: Allison Chorney
| Posted: Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 06:00 am
It may surprise many Airdronians to learn, according to The Home Depot Canada Foundation, youth are one of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population in Canada with about one in five shelter users in the country being youth.
The foundation also suggests on any given night about 30,000 people in Canada are homeless with 20 per cent, or 6,000, of these individuals being youths.
To help combat those numbers, The Home Depot in Airdrie is teaming up with the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie (BGCA) to help provide youth with access to safe, stable housing and life-skill development programs $2 at a time with The Orange Door Project.
“The Orange Door Project is committed to putting an end to youth homelessness by providing youth with the housing and life-skills they require to establish independent, productive lives,” said The Home Depot Canada Foundation Chair Peg Hunter in a press release. “Together, with the support of our Airdrie customers, we can help Canada’s most vulnerable youth realize their potential and build brighter futures.”
The project runs from now until July 2, and allows customers at the Airdrie Home Depot to purchase a paper orange door for $2 at the checkout. One hundred per cent of proceeds from the project in Airdrie will go to supporting the BGCA’s Youth Outreach Program, which provides at-risk youth with the support they need to find safe housing and develop life-skills.
“I think we all recognize and understand that our youth do struggle,” said Denisa Sanness, BGCA executive director.
“This is a great program to support youth that are struggling and who fall through the cracks.”
She said because the campaign is very specific to targeting youth homelessness, the funding is a good fit with the Youth Outreach Program because it is tailored to the individual needs of youth at risk of homelessness.
“The youth outreach worker will go support the youth where the youth are,” she said. “It’s very customized to the individual to give the support they need and if we can’t give them what they need, we can refer them to other supports.”
She said the program targets youth that have high-risk behaviours that could lead to homelessness including: addiction, in-home conflict, bullying, communication issues and mental health issues.
Sanness said ultimately the Club would like to see a youth shelter established in Airdrie.
“If our youth are facing homelessness in our community, it would be nice to keep them here rather than send them to Calgary,” she said, adding the kids may not be equipped to deal with the challenges of adjusting to a new and bigger city when they are already struggling with homelessness in a smaller community.
She said though homelessness may not be as visible here as it is in bigger cities, it does still exist.
“A lot of our youth are couch surfing, they are staying at friends homes or outside now that it’s nicer outside,” she said.
In addition to the in-store donations, residents can donate to The Orange Door Project online at homedepot.ca/foundation
“We’re really appreciative of The Home Depot and their commitment to us,” Sanness said.
The Home Depot Canada Foundation has donated more than $13 million to help improve homes and communities across Canada since 2009. The Orange Door Project comes out of the Foundation’s 2013 three-year pledge to donate $10 million to support renovation and repair projects and programs that help fight youth homelessness.