Affordable Housing, Poverty Top Issues for Youth Says Victoria Foundation’s Youth Vital Signs Survey

Victoria, B.C., Nov. 21, 2011 – Affordable housing and poverty are the top issues for youth in the Capital Regional District according to the Victoria’s Youth 2011 Vital Signs report issued by the Victoria Foundation.

Like Vital Signs, an annual community report card produced by The Victoria Foundation, the Youth Vital Signs report is a combination of public opinion and statistics that provides a snapshot of livability and well-being in Greater Victoria. In this report, which is sponsored by the TELUS Victoria Community Board, youth ages 15 – 24 were asked for their opinions on issues critical to their quality of life.

Of the 12 issue areas covered by the survey, youth housing and homelessness tied with poverty as the top issues that need attention, with respondents giving them a C and C- grade respectively. Seventy-one per cent of respondents called for more affordable student housing, 65 per cent called for more affordable housing, and 55 per cent called for a higher minimum wage.

Transportation (B-) and youth voice (C) tied for second place in the list of top concerns. Respondents called for more frequent (54%) and more late-night bus service (55%) and lower bus fares (50%). They also said governments could better recognize and include youths’ perspective by increasing awareness of options and opportunities for involvement (57%), providing more education about the political system (46%) and consulting youth at all levels (43%).

“We know youth have valid opinions, good ideas and a concern for the future of their communities,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation. “We also know there are many decision-makers in the public, private and non-profit sectors who want to know how youth understand the world and are willing to provide support and resources to make sure youth are heard. This report gives youth the opportunity to influence change by sharing their experiences and perspectives.”

Richardson said the Victoria Foundation has used the Youth Vital Signs reports to make funding decisions, supporting programs to help youth coming off the streets, to keep kids in school, promote literacy, and to prevent and treat drug and alcohol addiction. Vital Signs is also used to guide granting decisions by participants in the Vital Youth philanthropy program sponsored by the foundation in seven areas high schools.

This is the third year the Victoria Foundation has conducted a Youth Vital Signs survey and the first that results have been published separately from the Victoria’s Vital Signs report – an initiative to celebrate the foundation’s 75th anniversary. The report was released at the TED-X Victoria Conference Nov. 19. Read the full Victoria’s Youth 2011 Vital Signs report.

Background: The Victoria Foundation manages funds gifted either in perpetuity or for specific purposes. The funds or the earnings from them are then distributed as grants for charitable or educational purposes. Established in 1936, the Victoria Foundation is Canada’s second oldest community foundation and its sixth largest. To date it has invested more than $100 million in people, projects and non-profit organizations that strengthen communities. Read more about The Victoria Foundation’s vision and mandate.

For more information, please contact:
Stephanie Slater
Director of Communications, Victoria Foundation
250.381.5532 ext.#227                    250.686-8477