Pubdate: Wed, 05 Nov 2003
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC) 
Copyright: 2003 The Vancouver Sun
Author: John S. Hatch


Homelessness among youth is a growing problem that is desperate for
attention, especially with the advent of crystal meth. It came along
as many of us thought nothing could be worse than the crack cocaine

My wife is Brenda Carr, who (with some help from me) for the past 17
years has run The Studio, a downtown art program for street kids. They
are lured in to do art, but are offered some food, sometimes clothing
and, if willing, help in finding shelter, a job, entry into school or
university, referral to the finest professional counselling or detox
(when available).

Our entire budget is roughly $60,000, and has not changed in more than
10 years. Yet we have managed to assist thousands of youth.

With swelling numbers of desperate kids on the street, one would think
the provincial government would rise to meet the challenge, but the
opposite is true. We have scrambled to incorporate as a non-profit
society in anticipation of having our already tiny budget slashed to
zero. I have undertaken fund-raising activities on a volunteer basis,
but more and more people are chasing the same corporate and foundation
dollars, and it's very difficult.

If our program doesn't survive, the consequences are not serious for
my wife and me (although we would be very sad). But if we don't
survive, some kids literally won't either, and the government must be
made aware of this -- a most callous betrayal of society's most vulnerable.

John S. Hatch

Port Moody
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