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BC Lowest Minimum Wage in Canada- Affects the Poor and Homeless

Imagine you are a young person struggling to get off the streets. You take the right steps by getting help for your addictions, get counselling and learn job and life skills. You are staying in a shelter or maybe on a friend's couch, and you have been working hard to find a job and you do!

Your job pays minimum wage but you are just happy to be off the streets, working and starting over. Now imagine your weekly pay is $320.00 before taxes, your monthly pay is about $1280.00 before taxes. Now imagine trying to live off of that amount of money...think of rent, food and transportation. Even if you have a roommate and live in a cheaper place (pretty hard to find in Vancouver) you are probably spending around $450-$500 on rent, bus pass at least $100, food and basic necessities $200 and other bills at least $100.00.

So just to live you probably need at least a $1000.00 a month and that is bare bones.

That is what so many of your youth face every day. BC has so many young people and families that are the working poor. People working full time jobs but just barely getting by and hardly ever getting ahead. Having the lowest minimum wage in Canada is unacceptable - we live in one of the most high cost areas and our minimum wage has not gone up for years even though the cost of living continues to increase. This greatly affects all of us - please make a stand for a higher minimum wage to benefit all of us in BC.


Crystal meth and mental illness plague street youth

Andy had been coming to us on and off for about two years. The last time he came he had recently stopped using crystal meth and he looked better than we had ever seen him.

We did an intake and though he was off the meth, he appeared to be
seriously mentally ill. He would talk for 20 minutes and you couldn't
understand a word he said. But he was willing to "go through all the
hoops" like waiting to see a psychiatrist and taking medication.

Andy decided that he needed to go to Miracle Valley Treatment
(for his addictions). After three months he came back a much healthier
Andy and we didn't see any of the mental health stuff going on. We came
to the conclusion that it had been the crystal meth that was causing
his psychosis
(it is common for street youth to still display psychosis even six
months after using crystal meth and some suffer permanent brain
damage). Andy is one of the lucky ones as he has recovered from his
crystal meth addiction and the resulting psychosis.

While at the shelter, Andy found a job and was accepted into ROP.
When he left for ROP, Andy had the hugest smile on his face. He was so
happy, so relieved. He was joking with us and was so excited about this
new opportunity.

As a youth worker I wanted to celebrate, because there were so many
situations that were not looking good for Andy and now he is doing so
awesome. I really enjoyed working with him especially because of all
the willingness he put forth and that is why I do my job.


Blast from a past ROP (Rights of Passage) resident

i live'd in covey in vancouver b.c. n then moved into there rop program i lived there for 1n a hlf yrs its was a good experiance and gave me the tools i needed to achieve the level of sucess i have acheived today!!!! even though i was evetually dicharged from the program the skills i learned in the time there has greatly advanced my life to a positive forefront... i currently have achived my red seal as a chef i have my daughter for the summers and am expecting my 2 nd child with my new wife who i have been married to for 1 yr but known for 11 yrs.... witout the staff at rop vancouver (rob & eyvonne ecspially!!! love u guys) i do not think i would have acheived anywhere close to my current accomplishments or be alive for that matter i only hope that you can continue to help at risk youth who were as hopeless as i was

yours truly
Kevin (name changed to protect privacy of youth)

Puts danger into perspective

Our young people tell us frequently about the dangers of living on the streets:  getting robbed while you're sleeping (sometimes even having shoes removed in the middle of the night) or getting assaulted is commonplace.  Street youth say it's difficult to focus on bigger health issues when you're just trying to find your next meal.  This Tyee article shines a light on the sheer danger of trying to survive on the streets.

"On the House" launched today

Covenant House Vancouver's blog is officially launched!

We hope that youth, donors, volunteers, staff and everyone who is interested in street youth and the issues of homelessness will subscribe to our feed and contribute to our blog.

We will be updating regularly so if you subscribe, you will be notified of new postings.

If you would like to submit something to the blog, please email: or simply make a comment.


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