Aunt Leah's Place

PRESS RELEASE: Vancouver Charity Combatting Youth Homelessness Selected as One of Canada’s Top 10 Impact Charities for the 2nd Year in a Row

Vancouver Charity Combatting Youth Homelessness Selected as One of Canada’s Top 10 Impact Charities for the 2nd Year in a Row

VANCOUVER, BC – Aunt Leah’s Place, a Metro Vancouver charity providing housing, education, job training and support for youth aging out of foster care and young moms and babies, has been selected by Charity Intelligence (Ci), for the 2nd year in a row, as one of Canada’s Top 10 Impact Charities for 2018.

 

The 2018 Top 10 Impact Charities cover charities providing social services in Canada as well as international programs. Charity Intelligence’s rigorous analysis measures the “difference”, or the impact, charities make. Of the 125 Canadian charities that Charity Intelligence analysed for impact, Aunt Leah’s was evaluated as one of the Top 10 Impact Charities delivering returns of 6 times for every dollar donated.

“Aunt Leah’s Place is honoured to be chosen as a Top 10 Charity by Charity Intelligence. Our vision is to create an environment where all children connected to the foster care system have equal opportunities akin to their parented peers.” Says Executive Director Sara h Stewart. “One of the risks that youth aging out of foster care face is becoming homeless.”

The first youth homelessness Count in Metro Vancouver, conducted by the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association on behalf of Metro Vancouver, found that half of the 681 homeless youth surveyed are or were previously in foster care. “This count confirms what we know.  Our young people from foster care have been struggling and continue to struggle once they age out.” Says Stewart.

 

The homelessness number corresponds with a University of Victoria report, Avoiding the Precipice, which found that almost half of kids in foster care will experience homelessness when they age of care at 19. In contrast, the study found that Aunt Leah’s services and supports helped former foster youth avoid homelessness and maintain market housing. The study showed that an average of 86% of Aunt Leah’s participants were safe, independent and in housing. In 2016, 93% of moms leaving the Aunt Leah’s Threshold Program, a unique program that provides housing and support for homeless moms and their children, secured safe housing and maintained custody of their children.

According to Greg Thomson, Director of Research at Charity Intelligence, “Social impact is primarily about changing lives and Aunt Leah’s is very cost-effectively changing lives in two main ways. First, it breaks the cycle of foster care by supporting young mothers and preventing their babies from going into foster care. And second, it helps bridge the gap for kids who “age-out” of the foster system with housing and finding jobs. Charity Intelligence finds Aunt Leah’s to be a High Impact charity.”

Stewart is hopeful that some of the government initiatives that have recently been introduced for foster kids aging out of care will produce better outcomes for this vulnerable population.

“Exciting things have been happening for youth in and from foster care in BC this past year. The province has provided a tuition waiver for youth from care at all public post-secondary institutions. This has allowed for more young people from foster care to attend university or college.”

Braydon Chapelas, a foster youth advocate and former foster youth himself is appreciative of the tuition assistance and the support that Aunt Leah’s provided him when he was leaving the foster system. Aunt Leah’s Support Link program provided him with essential skills training to live on his own. Aunt Leah’s also helped him by providing housing and other supports which enabled him to finish high school and enroll in university. Braydon is now a fashion marketing student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and works part time at Aunt Leah’s as the Communications and Marketing Assistant. Braydon recently attended the Policy Solutions rally in Victoria advocating for a universal and comprehensive agreements for all youth aging out of care in BC. “Expanding supports for youth who age out of care in BC is crucial to combat youth homelessness and support them to reach their potential.” Says Chapelas.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018, Aunt Leah’s has a long tradition of social entrepreneurship, operating several businesses which both give employment opportunities to youth from care and generate almost 20% of its annual revenue.

 

Aunt Leah’s Tree Lots, opening November 23rd in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, New West and Coquitlam are the biggest revenue generators for the organization 100% of profits from the sale of the trees goes to support the housing programs. In addition Aunt Leah’s youth gain valuable job experience working on the lots.

 

“Our customers love the fact that they can help provide housing for vulnerable youth and young moms and babies by just buying a Christmas tree.” says Angelina Oates, Tree Lot Coordinator. “For a lot of families an Aunt Leah’s Christmas tree is a cherished part of their Christmas tradition.”

https://auntleahs.org/social-enterprise/tree-lots/

 

About Charity Intelligence:

Charity Intelligence researches Canadian charities for donors. Charity Intelligence’s website (www.charityintelligence.ca) reviews and rates over 750 Canadian charities as well as providing in-depth reports on philanthropic sectors like Canada’s environment, cancer, and homelessness.

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To download a media kit, backgrounders and photos go to the Branding section on the Media Centre.

For interviews contact Mairi Campbell 778-885-5300; e-mail: mairi.campbell@personae.ca

PRESS RELEASE: Aunt Leah’s Selected as One of Canada’s Top 10 Impact Charities

Vancouver Charity Combatting Youth Homelessness Selected as One of Canada’s Top 10 Impact Charities

VANCOUVER, BC – Aunt Leah’s Place, a Metro Vancouver charity providing housing and support for youth aging out of foster care and young moms and babies, has been selected as one of Canada’s Top 10 Impact Charities for 2017 by Charity Intelligence (Ci).

Charity Intelligence has picked the Top Ten 10 most effective Canadian charities that combat issues such as hunger, homelessness, health, and improving education. According to Ci’s Director of Research, Greg Thomson, “High impact charities are likely to be the most effective at changing lives. For your dollar, these charities are creating the most positive change we have seen These 10 high-impact charities, as a group, are likely to produce over $600 in value from a $100 gift!”

“What we do at Aunt Leah’s is to stop the cycle of homelessness and foster care by providing housing and a family-like support system for youth who are aging out of foster care and for young moms.” Says Executive Director Sarah Stewart, “Without a supportive home to go to, these moms—many of whom were foster kids themselves– would be homeless and lose their babies to the foster care system.”

It is estimated that half of BC foster youth will experience homelessness. The University of Victoria report, Avoiding the Precipice, found that Aunt Leah’s services and supports helped former foster youth avoid homelessness and maintain market housing. According to the study an average of 86% of Aunt Leah’s participants were safe, independent and in housing. In 2016, 93% of moms leaving the Aunt Leah’s Threshold Program, a unique program that provides housing and support for homeless moms and their children, secured safe housing and maintained custody of their children.

A recent report, OPPORTUNITIES IN TRANSITION: An Economic Analysis of Investing in Youth Aging out of Foster Care in their 20s states “Support for social and community connections should recognize the role of service organizations in assisting youth aging out of care find and maintain adequate housing… An evaluation of Aunt Leah’s Link program found that it successfully helped youth aging out of care work through housing issues.”

The report demonstrates the cost benefit of supporting this vulnerable population. Annual costs of up to $268 million are associated with the adverse experiences many youth aging out of foster care at 19 encounter, while a much lower level of investment – $57 million per year – would be required to improve outcomes and reduce costs.

Aunt Leah’s is looking forward to having even greater impact going forward.

They have recently partnered with BC Housing to acquire ownership of a 10-unit apartment building and a five bedroom home, giving them increased capacity to provide affordable housing to youth from foster care and moms from care and their babies.

Marcia Tait is one of those moms who has benefited from Aunt Leah’s support. Marcia came to the Thresholds program on a cold day in February of 2015. The staff listened to Marcia’s story and assured her that this was the place she needed to be. She moved into Thresholds a few days later.

Today Marcia and her youngest daughter, who she is now reunited with, are living independently in their own apartment and Marcia acts as a Peer Mentor for Threshold’s current and past moms.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018, Aunt Leah’s has a long tradition of social entrepreneurship, operating several businesses which both give employment opportunities to youth from care and generate almost 20% of its annual revenue.

The biggest revenue generator is the Aunt Leah’s Tree Lots which are now open in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, New West and Coquitlam. One hundred per cent of profits from the sale of the trees go to support the housing programs. In addition Aunt Leah’s youth gain valuable job experience working on the lots.

“Our customers love the fact that they can help provide housing for vulnerable youth and young moms and babies by just buying a Christmas tree.” says Angelina Oates, Tree Lot Coordinator. “For a lot of families an Aunt Leah’s Christmas tree is a cherished part of their Christmas tradition.” https://auntleahs.org/social-enterprise/tree-lots

To download a media kit, backgrounders and photos go to the Branding section on the Media Centre.

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For interviews contact Mairi Campbell 778-885-5300; e-mail: mairi.campbell@personae.ca

PRESS RELEASE: Aunt Leah’s Trees (2017)

How Buying a Christmas Tree Helps Provide Housing for Homeless Foster Youth & Homeless Moms and Babies

VANCOUVER, BC – On November 24th, Aunt Leah’s annual Tree Lots will open in five municipalities Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, New West and Coquitlam. One hundred per cent of profits from the lots go towards housing for vulnerable youth leaving foster care and young moms and their children.

Marcia’s Story

Marcia is a young mom whose life has been turned around by the help she got from Aunt Leah’s.

She  came to the Thresholds program—a unique program that provides housing and support for homeless moms and their children-  on a cold day in February of 2015. The staff listened to Marcia’s story and assured her that this was the place she needed to be.

Marcia moved into Thresholds a few days later.

Today Marcia is a Peer Mentor for Threshold’s current and past moms. Marcia and her youngest daughter, who she is now reunited with, are participating in the second stage of Aunt Leah’s Thresholds Program. Marcia will continue in her role as a Peer Mentor and an amazing mom!

“Without a supportive home to go to, these moms—many of whom were foster kids themselves– would be homeless and lose their babies to the foster care system,” says Sara Stewart, Executive Director of Aunt Leah’s. “We are trying to stop this cycle.”

It is estimated that half of BC foster youth will experience homelessness. “Currently, BC’s foster care system is not only a pipeline to future homelessness, but also a pipeline from and back to itself, due to early and unplanned pregnancies. Aunt Leah’s has responded to this crisis by helping young women in need – who we know can succeed when surrounded by supportive allies and resources– thus preventing another generation of children & babies from entering the system.” say Stewart.

Aunt Leah’s started selling Christmas trees in the 1990s when government funding was cut. It has turned into a viable social enterprise and Christmas tree sales have grown every year.” For a lot of families an Aunt Leah’s Christmas tree is a cherished part of their Christmas tradition.” Says Angelina Oates, Tree Lot Coordinator.

Purchasing one of Aunt Leah’s Trees for Christmas can help prevent these vulnerable youth and young moms like Marcia from becoming homeless.

www.auntleahs.org/trees

 Aunt Leah’s Place was chosen by Charity Intelligence as a Top Pick in their survey of Canadian Charities. Charity Intelligence researches charities to help donors decide where to direct their giving.

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For interviews contact Mairi Campbell 778-885-5300; e-mail: mairi.campbell@personae.ca

PRESS RELEASE: Aunt Leah’s Trees (2016)

A Shortage of Trees, but an Abundance of Love

Metro Vancouver, B.C. – You may notice there are less Christmas Tree Lots operating this year,
thats because the Pacific Northwest is having a shortage of trees. However, this isn’t holding
Aunt Leah’s back from having it’s biggest year ever.

“When we began ordering trees for this season, we were informed by some of our suppliers that there was a shortage, due to many farmers in Washington and Oregon changing crops over the last decade. Luckily we secured our order, but other lots might not be as fortunate” – Angelina Oates (Director of Training & Social Enterprises, Aunt Leah’s Place)

Aunt Leah’s orders its Trees from multiple partners, which helps them keep up with growing
demand. Many people purchase their live trees, as it is environmentally friendly, and gives
families an opportunity to “buy it forward” as they get into the spirit of the season.
100% of the proceeds from each sale, goes to programming that helps prevent foster youth
from becoming homeless and mothers in need from losing custody of their children. In BC, 45%
of foster youth will experience homelessness at some point (Rutman, UVIC, 2007). Aunt Leah’s
innovative family model helped 90% of its participants maintain safe and secure housing. The
majority of these youth also received job certifications or worked towards
completing their educational goals.

For over 20 years Aunt Leah’s Trees has been selling quality, Pacific Northwest Christmas Trees
to communities across Metro Vancouver. With 5 locations (Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam,
North Vancouver), staffed by over 450 volunteers, Aunt Leah’s Trees is one of the largest charity
tree lot’s in Canada. The tree lots are also the site of Aunt Leah’s Retail Training program,
helping to give youth in care the skills to obtain employment. For more information or to buy a
tree online visit: auntleahs.org

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Media Contact:
Clete Hanson
Aunt Leah’s Place
chanson@auntleahs.org
604 525 1204 ext. 233

PRESS RELEASE: The Friendly Landlord Network

Metro Vancouver, B.C. – A new collaborative housing program is setting out to help foster youth transition out of care and alleviate one of the provinces most pressing social issues, foster youth homelessness. The program, titled the Friendly Landlord Network, connects youth transitioning out of care directly with landlords who understand their need. These youth are guided through the housing process by a local youth serving organization, who provide support akin to what parented youth receive. “There are numerous barriers that prevent youth in care from accessing housing, the network will help bypass these by creating a community of support and culture of understanding” – Christina Grammenos (Community Engagement Coordinator, Friendly Landlord Network) In BC, 40% of homeless youth have been in the foster care system at some point in their lives. After turning 19, foster youth in BC no longer have housing, healthcare, regular financial assistance or access to a social worker (fosteringchange.ca).

“The Friendly Landlord Network project is a much needed integral part of the continuum of housing services and supports for our young people” – Kristine Kredba (Manager of Outreach and Transitions, Directions Youth Services)
The Friendly Landlord Network is currently working with a growing number of youth serving organizations and is actively searching for caring individuals and property managers with places to rent. Landlords who join the network receive market rent and tenancy support from a local youth serving organization. For more information or to become a Friendly Landlord please visit: friendlylandlordnetwork.com
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Media Contact:
Clete Hanson
Aunt Leah’s Place
chanson@auntleahs.org
604 525 1204 ext. 233

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