Eva’s Place: A beacon of hope

By Gerald V. Paul

Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul

“We work collaboratively with homeless and at-risk youth to help them reach their potential to lead productive, self-sufficient and healthy lives by providing safe shelter and a range of services, and to create long- term solutions for homeless youth by developing and implementing proactive and progressive services.”

The Eyes Guy was privileged to hear that from Maria Crawford, executive-director of Eva’s Initiatives (which began as a shelter called Eva’s Place) on Tuesday during their celebration of 20 years in this work of faith and a labour of love.

Crawford, along with President Adrian Ishak, thanked their donors, funders and supporters.

“Last year we opened our doors to 1,694 homeless youth providing them with safe shelter locally and provided an additional 2,231 youth with access to training and education programs,” Ishak told The Camera.

We were enjoying an evening of celebrating the key moments that have shaped both Eva’s Initiatives and the ongoing movement to prevent, reduce and end youth homelessness.

Part of Eva’s Initiatives is Eva’s Satellite, a harm-reduction facility, working with youth who use drugs and / or alcohol and often concurrent mental issues. It offers several programs.

Eva’s Phoenix Printshop administers a program that uses an integrated, holistic approach to provide youth with the skills they need to find and maintain housing and employment. At any time, up to 50 youth are residing at Eva’s Phoenix.

Youth cannot be self-sufficient if they have housing without a decent job to pay for it, or a job with no place to live.

“The success of Eva’s Phoenix demonstrates the effectiveness of an integrated model of support in helping homeless youth to reintegrate into the community. Youth are supported to enter or re-enter the world of employment and education and to stabilize their housing as well as build a broad base of support to move forward with their lives,” Crawford said.

“Our Eva’s Savings Programs require that youth who are employed submit 30% of their total earnings to Eva’s Bank, which is held in trust for them until they leave the shelter.”

Ah, Eyesers, a little bit of cash and a lot of hope for the future.

Taste Matters 2014 is a one-night sampling tour of some of Toronto’s best wine, craft beer and fine food in support of Eva’s Initiatives. It happens Oct. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Liberty Grand, 25 British Columbia Rd. Tickets are on sale at Taste Matters.