League Financial Partners donated $5,000 towards establishing youth housing in the West Shore and is challenging other businesses to match their donation.
The money is going to the West Shore Youth Housing Task Force, a group of people committed to providing a shelter for homeless youth on the West Shore.
Task force chair Bill McIlroy said the group found a place it is interested in, in Colwood. McIlroy couldn’t provide details but said it’s an existing building that is “turnkey ready to go.” The outcome of the arrangement will be known within the next couple of weeks, McIlroy said.
The group needs starter money to obtain the place and get it up and running. Unfortunately it has been hard for the group to get money without a location solidified, and hard to get a location solidified without money. McIlroy said League’s donation will be a big help in solving this catch-22.
McIlroy said even if they can only make a couple of beds available now, that would be a good start and would set the stage for expansion.
“We can start on a smaller scale, we can phase it in,” McIlroy said. “If we get a couple of beds going, then it’s easier to get three or four.”
Emanuel Arruda, co-founder and co-chair of League, said it’s part of League’s mandate to give back to the community. The company saw youth housing on the West Shore as an issue in need of funding and attention and decided to issue the challenge.
“Starting at home, that’s the most important thing really, because you want to see the benefits of what you’re doing in your own community,” Arruda said. “Giving someone a safe, warm bed to sleep in is probably the most important thing you can do to help someone achieve something on the next level.”
The task force also obtained a grant from the Victoria Family Court and Youth Justice Committee for $3,000, and $10,000 from the United Way for studies.
“I’m hoping we can get something going by Christmas, if not the new year,” McIlroy said.
It’s estimated that on any given night in the West Shore there are around 20 youths without housing. Many couch surf, while others end up sleeping outside, sometimes by the Galloping Goose Trail or near Langford Lake.