Tanara Oliveira/News Staff
Mark your calendars and put on your running shoes because the annual Do the Loop fundraiser is about to hit Greater Victoria’s streets and trails.
This year’s event takes place from Sept. 17 to 23, with money raised helping Threshold Housing Society’s new Family and Natural Supports program. All you have to do is sign up for $25 and do 25 kilometres however you like to move.
Do the Loop is an important event for the society, said Shannon Whissell, director of development.
“It was a challenging time for charities to host events as we scrambled to learn what virtual events were and how to host them, so to have our friends and neighbours rally behind us in this way was deeply encouraging,” Whissell said.
Since 1992, Threshold has provided housing for youth aged 15 to 24 in Greater Victoria who would otherwise experience homelessness. Starting with one small home for young males, the society now offers a spectrum of housing, from fully supportive to independent living and from shared spaces to individual apartments.
Among those they serve, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQIA+ and former youth in care are over-represented, and their supports focus on safety, healing, and acceptance for these youth, many of whom have experienced trauma.
“We also own, thanks to a generous donation last year, our Supportive Recovery Program home. It is unique in the region as the first harm-reduction-focused residential recovery program for youth,” said Whissell.
According to Point in Time counts from across Canada and over the decade they’ve been conducted, experiencing homelessness as a youth is one of the top indicators that someone will experience homelessness, and even chronic homelessness, as an adult.
In the 2023 Greater Victoria Point in Time count, family conflict was the highest indicator of housing loss for youth. Early intervention such as the Family and Natural Support program can stop that cycle, keeping youth housed and helping them create brighter futures.
“Even as Threshold Housing has continued to grow, so has the need for more supports and more housing. Our waitlist generally has three times more youth on it than we have spaces for, and we want to change that,” said Whissell.