A winter carnival at Bastion Square at the end of the month shines a light on the issue of youth homelessness in Victoria.
On Nov. 30, Threshold Housing Society will light the largest tree in Bastion Square to serve as a beacon of light to the vulnerable youths in the city. It serves as a sign to let them know they have the support of the community.
The tree lighting will be part of Threshold Housing Society’s winter carnival which will feature live music, guest speakers, hot chocolate and Christmas-themed activities like crafting ornaments, decorating gingerbread houses, face painting and visits with Santa.
The tree will be lit at 4 p.m. by guests including Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Victoria Police Department chief Del Manak and the province’s representative for children and youth Jennifer Charlesworth.
According to last year’s Greater Victoria Point in Time Count which was done on the night of March 15, there were at least 156 homeless youths in the region. Threshold Housing Society said there are many more who have not been captured in the count like those who were couch-surfing, living in unsafe homes or aging out of foster care.
“More than half of the respondents of the 2018 Point in Time Count had their first experience of homelessness under the age of 25,” the society said in a statement. “Youth homelessness is an issue in our community that often goes hidden, however it is essential that the vulnerable youth in our community have a place to call home.”
The carnival will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30 at Bastion Square.