Organization Spotlight: HomeStart Foundation
HomeStart Foundation is a non-profit Christian humanitarian organization that helps people transitioning out of homelessness re-establish themselves in new homes. Its diverse client base—refugees, children aging out of foster care, women & children fleeing domestic violence, adults recovering from job loss and addiction (to name a few)—is referred in through partnerships with over 70 social service agencies. Since 2003, HomeStart has worked to collect and transport needed furniture to over 5,000 clients’ homes, helping them feel safe and secure—hopefully long-term.
At DP World Vancouver, we cherish the spirit of philanthropy. And we promote this core belief through education, awareness-building and financial support of organizations that aid the success and wellbeing of those with whom we live and work. Our Community Kinship Programme showcases numerous organizations and community involvement initiatives that help contribute to the greater good in Vancouver and British Columbia.
What is HomeStart Foundation?
HomeStart Foundation began in Vancouver when a minister at Kitsilano Christian Community Church decided to make effective use of the second-hand furniture that had been donated to the church. His vision was to begin donating the furniture to people in the community who were transitioning out of homelessness. Today, HomeStart furnishes 50 homes a month, and helps those who are transitioning out of shelter life build confidence and find comfort as they begin the next chapter in their lives.
The cost of living in Vancouver is remarkably expensive. People who have made the hard-earned move out of a shelter often have to decide between purchasing groceries, paying utility bills or buying furniture. Understandably, furniture often falls to the bottom of the priority list. Before receiving help from HomeStart, people find themselves in dismal circumstances; they’ve finally secured housing, but now are forced to sleep on lawn chairs or store clothes in garbage bags.
This can be particularly difficult for people with school-aged children. Kids miss out on crucial social integration opportunities when they’re unable to invite friends over because of a lack of furniture. Adolescence can be hard enough without having to suffer the shame of living in a home that doesn’t have a sofa or dining table.
HomeStart Foundation also has an immense environmental benefit accompanying its work. Most of the time, if people are not able to donate their furniture with ease, they simply send it to the dump. Too often, high-quality furniture ends up in a landfill when it could just as well be used by someone who truly needs it. HomeStart makes the process of getting rid of furniture beneficial for both parties, and is doing so in an environmentally friendly way.
All furniture that goes through HomeStart is of incredible quality. Much of it is donated by commercial partners, such as film studios, hotels and cruise lines. In fact, HomeStart has such wonderful relationships with ongoing donors, that it is never in short supply of furniture.
In November, HomeStart will hold an online auction, for which it is always seeking donation items. Anything from travel packages and gift cards to smaller items of value are appreciated. In the spring, HomeStart will be hosting an event called the Chair Fair. This fun event features a competition in which designers create unique works of art through redesigned chairs. The chairs are then sold in an auction to raise funds for the Foundation. Participants and bidders alike love this event, and everyone is excited to see or own a unique work of art.
Getting Your Business Involved
There are many ways to get involved with HomeStart. Some businesses organize small groups of volunteers to work at the warehouse for a day several times a year. Volunteers can practice using a variety of skills like making minor fixes to furniture, helping load the truck, assisting clients, and sorting deliveries.
HomeStart welcomes other types of assistance as well. Companies that specialize in marketing or web design could provide courtesy services like branding, advertising, or improvements for the existing website.
Above all else, funding is needed for every day operational costs like warehouse upkeep and gas and maintenance for the charity’s 11-year-old truck. Sponsorship opportunities are many and varied.
As stated above, HomeStart has a small warehouse and a constant influx of high quality furniture donations, so furniture is rarely a need, but if you have furniture to donate, please give them a call to discuss.
Your business can help HomeStart in its mission to ease the transition from shelter to home for our neighbours who are trying to get on their feet in the expensive Metro Vancouver area. Follow HomeStart on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to see the impact it’s making in our community. And if you would like to get your business involved, visit the HomeStart Foundation website to learn more.