For many young people, the fall season means back to school and back to learning. This is true for many youth at Covenant House Vancouver, as well. Those at CHV, may also be involved in education of a different kind, as they prepare to go out into world, independently.
Literacy workshops, at Covenant House Vancouver, are designed with the purpose of enhancing the youth’s knowledge and level of confidence in particular life skills areas. Workshops vary in length and subject matter, and are offered on both the Crisis Program and ROP program.
Finances and housing are the current areas of focus for workshops (specifically being planned with ROP youth in mind). Recently, a two-hour workshop was held that focused on budgeting and credit for both the Crisis Program and ROP youth. It was run by Family Services of Greater Vancouver and was well attended.
What is Rent Smart? “Rent Smart provides education and support to tenants and community champions with one goal: successful tenancies. Successful tenancies are key to building strong communities, increasing housing stability and preventing homelessness.”
The three-day educator training provides certification for attendees to begin delivering housing related education directly to the clients they work with. CHV now has three staff members who are able to deliver the Rent Smart training to youth.
Youth complete six modules that cover a variety of topics including budgeting, managing finances, your rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancy Act, communication, and maintenance. Upon completion, youth receive a certificate with a code unique to them. As many youth are first time renters, they do not have references to provide to the prospective landlord. Using their code, they can show the landlord that they have invested time to learn what is expected of them as a tenant. In a way, the Rent Smart program acts as a reference to help youth acquire their first rental.
If you’d like to know more about the life skills that youth are learning at CHV, around housing, check out our podcast, Helping Youth With Housing.