Youth Homelessness Defined and Threshold Solutions

Threshold exists to serve youth from across Vancouver Island through supported independent living. Providing positive role models and constructive support helps youth in our community navigate the challenges of school, work, relationships and life. Many of these young people just need someone to believe in them.

The Canadian Definition of Youth Homelessness

“Youth homelessness” refers to the situation and experience of young people between the ages of 13 and 24 who are living independently of parents and/or caregivers, but do not have the means or ability to acquire a stable, safe or consistent residence.

Youth homelessness is a complex social issue because as a society we have failed to provide young people and their families with the necessary and adequate supports that will enable them to move forward with their lives in a safe and planned way. In addition to experiencing economic deprivation and a lack of secure housing, many young people who are homelessness lack the personal experience of living independently and at the same time may be in the throes of significant developmental (social, physical, emotional and cognitive) changes. As a result, they may not have the resources, resilience, education, social supports or life skills necessary to foster a safe and nurturing transition to adulthood and independence. Few young people choose to be homeless, nor wish to be defined by their homelessness, and the experience is generally negative and stressful. For more information on this definition, see the Canadian Definition of Youth Homelessness.

Since 2007, and the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness, the number of either homeless youth or youth at risk of becoming homeless in Greater Victoria has numbered in the hundreds. The old adage that “it takes a village to raise a child” has never been more true than for those youth who are either homeless or on the verge of homelessness. Today, youth between the ages of 16 and 24 years are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in Canada. The human cost and financial cost of homelessness burdens any community where it arises. A critical step in preventing adult homelessness is to prevent vulnerable youth from fall into chronic poverty and homelessness.  It remains crucial, therefore, that the regional municipalities of Greater Victoria work together toward ending youth homelessness today as a determinate of healthier communities tomorrow.

Threshold Housing Society – Offering Solutions for the Future

OUR VISION:  Greater Victoria at-risk youth confidently fulfilling their potential.

OUR MISSION:  Threshold Housing Society helps at-risk youth attain independence and self-reliance through supportive transitional housing.

OUR MANDATE:  To provide a transitional housing program for youth at risk of homelessness.  Our semi-independent transitional houses and supported independent program (SHY) offer stability for school completion, work training, and employment. To augment the experience of being safely housed, Threshold also provides an innovative life-skills program called “Self-Worthshops” and transitional planning to connect youth with community resources to assist them in achieving their goals.

Our Housing

Mitchell House

Mitchell House is a home where young men are given the chance to gain valuable life skills and grow towards working or getting an education with the support of Threshold staff. Stability in knowing there’s a roof over their head means they can concentrate on the next steps toward independence. Read more


Holly House

Holly House is a place where young women are able to escape intolerable living circumstances and unhealthy relationships. Here, they are able to get the care and support they need to succeed in work and school while moving towards a bright, independent adulthood. Read more


SHY

With the help of our community, the Safe Housing for Youth (SHY) Program connects vulnerable youth with stable and affordable housing. Learn how you can become a SHY landlord


Our Team

Mark Muldoon

Executive Director

With an extensive background in social justice, Mark Muldoon brings years of experience and a passion for advocacy to the role of Executive Director. Mark’s drive to make a difference stems his from experience helping long-term federal ex-offenders reintegrate back into society. He saw gaps in social systems and now dedicates his time to ensuring that no youth goes un-housed or lives at risk of becoming homeless.

As Executive Director of Threshold, Mark is responsible for designing and implementing strategic plans as well as mentoring Threshold’s staff and support team as they create a safe, welcoming space for disempowered youth.


Graham Kelly

Mitchell House Mentor

Graham Kelly brings many years of experience working with at-risk youth to his position as Mitchell House mentor. He first heard of Threshold while volunteering for the Restorative Justice program, and loved how purposeful and holistic the role of house mentor could be. When the position suddenly came available, he applied and has been with Threshold ever since.

Graham is motivated by building life connections that aren’t confined to scheduled appointments. He believes that Mitchell House is not merely a house, but a home for youth, and often the first safe space they are able to call their own.

Graham is a born storyteller and will often weave a tale or two from his travels. He also enjoys working with the written and the spoken word, and has helped develop an in-school seminar series to help students come together to tackle shared challenges.


Brooke MacDonald

Transitional Planning Coordinator

Born and raised in Victoria, Brooke has spent many years in our community working and volunteering to support and encourage development in others. After studying Psychology and counselling at UVic (BA), she developed a business as a transition coach for youth 18 – 25. For Brooke, transitional coaching is about working with the individual to amplify their vision of self and offer support in navigating the emotional, logistical, and social processes of change. She is passionate about the collaboration of human connection and supportive programming, and thrilled to be a part of Threshold Society’s vision to provide housing and community to the youth they serve.


Our Board

Dr. Dennis Anholt

Chair

Dr. Dennis M. Anholt, is a Victoria community-builder, having served on numerous Boards of Directors and volunteer roles throughout the city. Now retired, he is a former public servant, consultant and UVic Adjunct Professor.

Karen Blakely - THS Board Member

Karen Blakely

Treasurer

Karen Blakely has been the Treasurer of Threshold since March 2015. Her accounting and financial background has spanned over 40 years in a multitude of aspects of finance and IT. Her broad financial experience includes over 18 years in senior positons: accounting manager with Dow Chemical in the oil and gas industry, corporate controller for British Columbia Investment Management Corporation and Director of Finance for Our Place Society. She has also served on a number of volunteer boards as treasurer for charitable and non-profit organizations including, Our Place Society, the Open Door Society, Pilgrim United Church and the Victoria Ski Club.

Michael Shepherd, Q.C.

Secretary

Michael Shepherd, Q.C. has served on the board since July 2013 and is a member of the Administration and Governance Committee. Michael is a lawyer and has worked in that capacity with the Legal Services Branch of the Ministry of Justice for over 30 years. He has previously served on the boards of other charitable organizations, most recently the Our Place Society.

Guy Dagenais Threshold Board Member - Youth Homelessness

Guy Dagenais

Guy has spent 35 years working in Ottawa in the Child Welfare and Youth Justice Fields, and teaching at Algonquin College in the Police Foundations Program. In Child Welfare, Guy worked for the Children’s Aid Society as a youth worker, a principal Child Abuse Investigative Social Worker and a program supervisor for youth and transitional residences. In Youth Justice, Guy worked one on one with high risk criminally involved young persons at the Easter Ontario Youth Justice Agency and later became Executive Director. While working in Youth Justice, Guy accepted a part-time teaching position at Algonquin College. Finally, Guy is a trained mediator / facilitator and enjoy volunteering with Restorative Justice Victoria. Guy has a BA in Psychology from Ottawa University and an incomplete MA in Pastoral Counselling from St-Paul’s University, in Ottawa. While studying at UofO, Guy played with the GEE-GEEs football team and won the Vanier Cup. His 1975 team was also inducted in the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. Guy has been enjoying his retirement since 2009.

Sean Dhillon

Sean Dhillon is a finance professional with CIBC Bank with expertise in residential and construction financing across Canada. Sean is an award winning finance professional and is a long time resident of Victoria. In addition to helping Canadians reaching their financial goals Sean actively volunteers in the community with numerous non-profit agencies. Sean is also trainer and lecturer on Social Media Best Practices and has been recognized for such work by speaking at small and large scale conferences. spare time Sean is a “weekend warrior” whereby he participates in Soccer, Running and Cycling.

Gillian Hoyer Threshold Board Member - End Homelessness

Gillian Hoyer

Gillian Hoyer is the Assistant Curate at the Church of St John the Divine, Victoria and a Registered Psychotherapist (CRPO). In addition to being the representative to the Threshold Board from the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia, she brings a history of working in social services, non-profits, and with youth prior to beginning ordained ministry. She has worked for the Victoria Cool Aid Society, Canadian Mental Health Association, Island Health, and volunteered as a counsellor with the South Island Centre for Counselling and Training. She also currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. Gillian holds a BA in psychology from the University of Victoria, an MA in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University, and a Master of Divinity from Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario.

Carol Martin - Threshold Housing - End youth poverty

Carol Martin

Carol has a B.A. from UBC and M.P.A. from University of Victoria, as well as a Certificate in Mediation from the Justice Institute of BC. Over the years, Carol has worked with many Ministries of the Provincial Government both in frontline services and policy development, finance and administration and HR and Strategic Planning. The latter years were spent planning, coordinating and implementing government change initiatives affecting all Ministries. Carol has served on Church Boards at the Congregational, Presbytery and Conference level and community boards focused on housing and support services for youth, as well as an advisory Board for the Regional District on Agricultural Land Reserve applications. Carol has enjoyed past involvement in contributing to the wellbeing of youth and looks forward to this opportunity to serve on the Board of Threshold Society.

John Reese

John Reese, loving husband of Renee Reese, and father of three, Adrian, Audrey and Oliver, has a long history of working in management in the hospitality industry. He is currently working for the Truffles Group Inc. in Victoria as Vice President of Operations. As a Parish Council Member of 6 years at St. Philip’s Anglican Church, John supports the community through his church as well as his work.

Andrew Reeve - THS Board Member

Andrew Reeve

Andrew Reeve was born and raised in Victoria, B.C. He is currently the Director of Communications & Government Relations for the Trust for Sustainable Development. Reeve holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Victoria, having studied Political Science and History. He has been involved with many organizations including Amalgamation Yes, Open Victoria, and was a Senior Fellow at the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee. Reeve served as the President of the Liberal Party of Canada in Victoria for two years and as a Liberal Campaign Manager in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford during the 2015 federal election. Aside from politics and the community, Reeve is an avid writer, Canucks fan, movie-buff, and a life-long skier.

Youth Homeless - Victoria BC - Threshold Board Member - Don Storch

Donald W Storch, MSW, OC.

Don is a social worker retired from private practise in the Employment Assistance field. Prior to opening his own practise he was employed by the South Vancouver Island Counselling and Assessment Service in Duncan, was a partner in Kelly Luttmer and Associates in Calgary, Vice-President for Children’s Services for Catholic Charities in Edmonton, and Executive Director of the Family Service Association in Edmonton. Don has served on many boards in Victoria, British Columbia and Alberta and Nationally. He was awarded an Order of Canada in 2008 for his extensive volunteer activity. Don’s interests are in social justice, housing, and interconnectedness of social services. He is a member of Lutheran Church of the Cross, Our Place Society and the Shelbourne Community Kitchen. He and his wife (Dr. Janet Storch) have lived in Victoria for over 20 years. They have 3 adult children and 4 grandchildren.

Sign up to receive updates from Threshold Housing Society

Want to end youth homelessness? Please spread the word :)