Local Donors Transform the Future of Housing for Two Local Charities
Through the generosity of philanthropists Clint and Carole Forster, two local organizations have received significant contributions to help people at risk of homelessness in Victoria find a space to live their best possible lives.
The Forsters prefer to fund projects already in motion: helping people who are helping themselves. In both cases, the organizations had a strategy to create needed spaces, and the additional support from the Forsters enabled them to refocus their plans to create possibilities for their respective clients.
“We made the donations now rather than leave funds in our wills because Threshold and Anawim needed the money now and also we have the privilege of experiencing the positive impact of the donation on the people needing our help.”— Carole Forster
Threshold Housing Society: Building Capacity
The Threshold Housing Society (THS) works with youth in Victoria between the ages of 15 and 24 who come from traumatic experiences, such as experiencing homelessness, fleeing violence or abuse in their home, or exiting the child welfare system.
“Young people are often overlooked because the sector is under-resourced,” shared THS executive director, Colin Tessier. “They enter the adult homeless system far too often, resulting in further trauma and harmful outcomes. We offer safe housing and robust support services, with cultural supports and clinical counselling and a variety of other services to help equip youth with new tools to heal and eventually graduate into sustainable and healthy young adulthood.”
A $1.6 million donation from the Forsters allowed the Threshold Housing Society to continue in perpetuity their innovative Supportive Recovery Program for youth. The gift from the Forsters, facilitated by the Victoria Foundation and RBC Phillips Hager & North Investment Counsel, allowed them to pay off the mortgage on the house they had purchased, ensuring they can continue to operate it, and freeing money for continued growth.
“This donation gives us breathing room immediately,” said Tessier. “We don’t have to pay an annual mortgage of $74,000. Instead, we can redirect those resources to go deeper and broader in our programming, and the equity gives us borrowing power to use for future projects, such as new buildings or programs. This was a transformative gift, and we’re excited at what it can help us accomplish.”
Anawim House: Building Family
The Anawim Companions Society provides for the needs of people living in physical, emotional, spiritual and social poverty by offering help, care, and counsel while creating awareness and fostering compassion and understanding for the people they serve.
The Anawim Women’s House, a safe space for women at risk of homelessness due to poverty, fleeing violence or various health issues, uses Anawim’s Family Model approach, where everyone contributes to create a healthy and productive shared environment. The home features space for seven private rooms with semi-private bathrooms, a communal kitchen, and communal living spaces.
Dan Greco, president of the Anawim Companions Society, shared, “Early on, the Forsters provided capital injections, as well as a matching donation for operating. Their gifts pushed us over the top for the build and ensured we had money in the bank to operate for the next couple of years. They were financial catalysts, and their public support led to additional doors — and wallets — opening for our project.”
“We obtained occupancy at the end of April,” continued Greco, “and our new house director spent much of the spring getting things coordinated and making the house feel like a home for our guests. With this gift, we can do what we’re supposed to do: help people.”
Find out more about these projects at Victoriafoundation.bc.ca.