In June of last year, the federal government passed legislation to mark September 30 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Covenant House Vancouver recognizes the importance of officially honouring National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, which is consistent with our ongoing commitments and actions to advance reconciliation.
We know from annual homeless counts in Vancouver that Indigenous Peoples are overrepresented in many areas including homelessness. We know racism, systemic racism, prejudice, oppression, and historical trauma contribute to this overrepresentation. In the 2020 Vancouver Homeless Count Indigenous people were 13.2 times more likely to experience homelessness and last year 29% of the youth served at Covenant House self-identified as Indigenous.
From data that CHV has collected, we found that in 2021:
- 72% of self-identified Indigenous youth who are involved with our Case Management and/or Housing Support program demonstrated an ability to improve or maintain housing
- CHV Outreach served 196 individual youth who self-identified as Indigenous
- CHV Outreach met 95 new youth who self-identified as indigenous and introduced them to our programs
- 98 individual youth who self-identified as Indigenous attended our Drop-In Centre
- 54 youth identified as Indigenous stayed in our Crisis Program for an average length of stay of 24 days
We will have a counsellor on site that day to support both youth and staff as we know the day may be triggering and/or emotionally difficult.
In addition, our youth workers have planned some engaging onsite activities for that day that includes:
- Designing orange T-shirts
- Indigenous book reading
- Smudging (during this time, youth will have the opportunity to have conversations about the day is)
- Playing Scream and Run traditional Indigenous game
- Drop-In with Kadee, CHV’s lead Spiritual Care Practitioner, who will be there for support and will also provide prizes and treats
- Movie night: Beans
Ways to get involved in National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Wear orange. Both National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day takes place on September 30th.
Miss604 has a very comprehensive list of ways to be involved along with resources. Check them out.
This may be a difficult day for many and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society Emergency Crisis Line is available 24/7 for those that may need counselling or support. You can call 1-800-721-0066 or the 24-hr crisis line 1-866-925-4419.