(Black Press File)

Homeless Partners’ hosts Christmas Wishlist project

This local initiative aims to create a connection between the homeless and the community during the holiday season.

This holiday season, Homeless Partners’ is hoping to help foster a personal connection between homeless or sheltered people and the community.

Earlier this week, B.C.’s ministry in charge of social development and poverty reduction released a report that found 7,655 people are homeless across the province, with 37 per cent regularly living on the street and not in shelter spaces.

With these numbers seemingly on the rise, Homeless Partners is hoping to bridge the gap in understanding. As part of their 2018 Christmas Wishlist campaign, individuals are asked to answer a set of questions, add personal stories, along with a Christmas wish list, as a way of bridging the person with the community. Pseudonyms are used to ensure anonymity. Interview responses are then posted on their website at www.homelesspartners.com.

Related: Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Related: Vernon homeless numbers rise

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After reading the stories, community members can then send gift(s), letters and/or cards to the individual at the shelter. Staff at the shelter distribute gifts and cards to the intended individual by matching the pseudonym to the intended person.

“Many people want to help the homeless but are not sure how best to help. Some people are reluctant to give money because they want to ensure their gift will not be used in unhealthy ways,” wrote Maggie Metz, Homeless Partners coordinator. “The Christmas wish list is a way to provide direct, personal expressions of caring by delivering a gift or message directly to people that need it most.”

Organizers are also hoping to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness through community support for the project. Community participation in the project is done in the hopes to encourage decision-makers to take action to reduce homelessness in our community.

In Vernon, Turning Points Collaborative Society operates the communities shelters. The Howard House provides emergency shelter beds, transitional beds and a supportive recovery program. The Gateway Shelter provides men and women emergency shelter. Both shelters provide services to the absolute homeless who may be suffering from the economic downturn, illiteracy, addictions and/or mental health challenges. Gifts can be dropped off at 102-3301 24 Ave, Vernon. Note that tax receipts will not be provided.

Related: Homeless strategies seek upgrade

Related: Storage offered to Vernon homeless

Related: Homeless camp rules possible

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