A moving day

HollyburnJason_blog

Jason shows off his new downtown furnished apartment.

Jason had no idea how he was going to find a place to live and manage on his own. With entry-level wages and no family support, he worried that an independent life would be impossible.

The 22-year-old left his native Jamaica, where his mother continues to live, to join his father and step-mother in Canada. Family conflict forced him to move out with friends. His friends struggled to keep their jobs and soon their housing fell through. Jason came to the crisis shelter at Covenant House for the same reason so many other kids do—he had run out of options and had nowhere else to turn.

Easygoing yet quietly-determined, Jason quickly stood out to his youth workers. He was keenly interested in moving his life forward and was willing to work hard to achieve his goals. While staying in our crisis shelter, he worked with our Job Centre to land an apprenticeship in construction. He also found a weekend job at a grocery store.

On the day Jason found out he had been selected to move into his own rent-reduced apartment from Hollyburn Properties, he asked his youth worker if he could call his mom back home in Jamaica. “I wanted to tell her the good news,” he says. His mother was overcome with emotion when she heard that he got this opportunity. “She cried because she knew her son was safe now,” he explained.

Jason now has the chance to learn to live independently thanks to the Covenant House-Hollyburn Properties Youth Housing Program. The new partnership provides him with a furnished apartment. He will pay about one-third of the market rent while he continues to receive our support. Hollyburn will then donate his subsidized rent to support our services at the end of the year.

Learn more about the Covenant House-Hollyburn Properties Youth Housing Program.

Covenant House and Hollyburn Properties recently held Jason a housewarming party in his new bachelor suite. It was thoughtfully decorated with furnishings he chose with the help of his youth workers and paintings given to him by our art therapy program, Arts and Minds.

Covenant House will continue to provide Jason with donated household items, frequent check-ins and other support through the year. His youth workers will work with him on life skills like budgeting, time management and cooking. They will help Jason find his own place when the year is up. He’ll also be able to take his furniture and other items with him when he moves out.

Hollyburn Properties is one of the largest Canadian-owned property management companies. They provide Covenant House Vancouver youth with four subsidized apartments. Jason is the first youth to benefit in Toronto from the expanded program.

“Hollyburn is helping us to give our kids the skills they need to transition successfully to independence,” says Bruce Rivers, Covenant House Executive Director.

The Hollyburn partnership marks the start of our new Stable Housing Plan to offer more youth housing in the community while they continue to access the agency’s support. The plan includes acquiring market value and subsidized apartments or condos. By next summer, the agency hopes to have housing for 10 youth.

Hollyburn Ontario General Manager Mike Capone has issued a challenge to his competitors. “We hope other property management companies will be encouraged to follow suit in this initiative of compassion, community and corporate responsibility.”

“It was the answer to my prayers,” says Jason. “Everyone needs a little push. And once you’ve got that, you can move mountains. I’m so grateful for this opportunity.”

Jason hopes to upgrade his skills and maybe own his own construction company someday.

11 thoughts on “A moving day

  1. Congratulations Jason! What a wonderful story! You look SO happy! You made us happy with that beautiful smile! :o ) We enjoyed reading about your journey. How exciting that you are able to move into your own place! You have accomplished a lot! My husband – John & I are long-time supporters of Covenant House & we were so happy to read story! We know you will go far because you are very determined & dedicated. Jason – we wish you all the best in your future! John & Lorna Comacchio

    • Covenant House Toronto

      Hi John & Lorna, Thanks so much for the very kind note to Jason. We’ve passed this along to his youth worker, so she can send it to him.

  2. So happy to read about Jason’s new apartment home. It looks very nice in the photo, and je looks delighted to be there.

    It is so important to have a place to call home. Especially an affordable place, which can be hard to find.

    I live in a rent-to-income apartment and find it is very helpful as I am a retired person living on a very small pension.

    So pleased to be a supporter of Covenant House. Thank you all for your excellent work.

    Sincerely,

    Marion Bedford

  3. Good Luck Jason!!! and God Bless Covenant House and all its supporters. keep up your good work you made your mom proud .God watch over you always.

  4. What a great article, and a great show of humanity. You never forget people who reach out to you when you need it.
    When our family was moving, it was stressful, and we hired Cidel Moving in Vernon BC to help us with the move. It was a big transition, but the stress was lifted when the moving guys showed up. They lifted my spirits and made us all laugh. They took care of everything, and their confidence in what they were doing gave me the confidence too. Thank you Cidel for helping people during big transitions (moving is one of life biggest changes, and I’m glad your there to help people out!)
    http://www.cidelmoving.com

  5. U do wonder full help for young people.. Happy to donate, so you can continue the good work.

  6. Hello,

    Please excuse my poor english; I am french canadian.

    I have to say that your mission is one that appeals to me. I just searched your website to read testimonys, and I must say that I am surprised by the fact I don.’t see any testimonys for the current year. I would also be pleased to read newspaper articles on your work.

    I am glad to make small donations for charitable works in wich I believe.

    Are you still existing and can you give me recent references ?

    I’ll be happy to read your answer

    Best regards

    Eliane

    • Covenant House Toronto

      Eliane, Thank you for your kind note and sorry for the late response. Our blog has several more recent stories. Please visit our blog homepage for the latest stories about our kids and programs. http://www.covenanthousetoronto.ca/blog Thank you again for your interest in our kids!

  7. I AM SO PROUD OF ALL THE YOUTHS AND I PRAY COVENANT HOUSE WILL GET MORE SUPPORT FROM PEOPLE AND COMPANIES SO THAT THEY WILL BE ABLE TO KEEP UP THE GOOD WORKS.

    I PRAY FOR ALL THE STAFF AS THEY HELP THE YOUTHS AND SHOW THEM LOVE.
    MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS MANAGEMENT, STAFF AND YOUTHS AT COVENANT HOUSE.

    BLESSINGS TO ALL
    PAMELLA

  8. funny reading stories like these, not too sure what’s left in life for me quite honestly, but a story like this moved me. I dont even know how i stumbled on this site to begin with, a little fearful maybe. That Jason’s story seems so far-fetched to someone in my position who honestly just feels I’m not able to attain that no matter how hard I try. That I’ll just keep failing.
    Regardless, Great story. I’m happen for Jason, it’s truly not everyday you hear this,

  9. This is such a great story that shows how much good work this charity is doing. It is so nice to hear that this young man as well as many other people are getting their lives on track thanks to the help of Covenant House. Cheers for all the good work you are doing!

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