YMCA youth program scrambles for cash

Funding shift leaves gaps in services

Tiffany Cain might not be living in a home, might not have a job and might not be drug-free if it weren’t for the YM-YWCA’s outreach services.

“They’ve known me since I was 14,” said Cain, now 23. “It scares me to think about where I’d be if it weren’t for them.”

Cain was living on the streets and relying on drugs when the shabbily spray-painted white YMCA van first opened its doors to her. The outreach workers gave her food, but most importantly, a reason to live a better life. Even if there was no food, having someone to talk with and get advice from two or three times a week was crucial, she said.

She is deeply concerned the service might end. She calls the van’s two outreach workers her best friends. One even drove Cain to Vancouver, late at night, for emergency surgery – “off the clock.”

The Ministry of Children and Family Development has gone through what it calls a “contract restructuring,” which has left several services in the lurch.

Programs on the West Shore and in Saanich that offer preventative counselling for youth are gone. Some funding for the downtown outreach van is gone. And so is all funding for the supported independent living program – the one that got Cain into stable housing.

Janet Champion, the Victoria Y’s manager of outreach services, only recently heard about the cuts.

“Having these programs in a kid’s life helps them stay on the straight and narrow and achieve their goals,” she said. Most youth using the services were in foster or ministry care, and some were living on the streets.

The independent living program also saw staff facilitate co-operation between landlords and young tenants. Skill-building, including cooking and hygiene, was taught. Cain said the outreach workers even helped her build her first resume.

Champion said the outreach van likely won’t cease operation. “I just have to look at this and see how we can do it more efficiently.”

Ministry spokesperson Darren Harbord said the preventive student counselling and outreach van funding was transferred from the Y to the Victoria Youth Empowerment Society. The services “have been redeveloped using feedback and recommendations from South Island service providers. The contract is for three years at a cost of $441,000 per year,” he wrote in an e-mail to the News.

ecardone@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Police are looking for witnesses and video footage after a crash on June 18. (Photo courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP looking for videos related to Corvette crash

Driver believed to have fled the scene of View Royal crash

The Pat Bay Highway was closed for several hours Monday morning after a drug-impaired driver crashed into two hydro poles. (Black Press Media file photo)
UPDATE: Pat Bay closure caused by drug-impaired driver

Man struck two hydro poles, closing a section of the Pat Bay Monday morning

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Greater Victoria with unusually high temperatures expected Monday and this coming weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria’s first week of summer will be a scorcher

Special weather statement issued Monday by Environment Canada

Central Saanich has rejected plans for a pilot project that would allow food trucks in Centennial Park. (Black Press Media file photo)
Central Saanich puts brakes on food truck pilot project

Coun. Carl Jensen questions Central Saanich’s consistency

A rendering shows what the Doral Forest Park development would look like from the southwest. (Rendering via D’AMBROSIO Architecture & Urbanism)
Beaver Lake area project passes next hurdle in Saanich

Council approval for 242-unit parks edge development hinges on meeting of conditions

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

By the end of life, the average North American has eaten the weight of a family sedan in sugar. (Pixabay.com)
FITNESS: Living the sweet life without too much sugar

Simple choices can have a major impact on your health

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Most Read