Ms. Catherine Fife: It’s my pleasure to talk about Hockey Helps the Homeless, which is a nationally registered charity that organizes one-day pro-am tournaments. Sports lovers, businesses and volunteers come together to address the affordable housing crisis in a meaningful way.
Over the weekend, I attended the Kitchener-Waterloo tournament, where upwards of $155,000 was raised, with proceeds benefiting five local organizations that work with underserviced populations. A courageous young woman named Jessica shared her story. The support she received and services she accessed through oneROOF Youth Services saved her life. The funding for oneROOF’s two supportive housing units dried up last spring and the provincial government denied emergency funding, despite knowing that the program helped at-risk youth, stabilized their lives and built better futures by providing housing first.
Jessica was one of 10 youth who had nowhere to go but the street as a result of these closures. Jessica has struggled with mental health, spousal abuse and substance abuse, but she found solace and support at oneROOF—and we need to remember that four youths died on the streets of Kitchener-Waterloo in 2014. She asked us, “Could you put a dollar sign on helping youth transition out of homelessness?” Clearly this provincial government concluded that the price was too high. I was ashamed that our priorities were so out of line.
Hockey Helps the Homeless tournament is possible because of countless volunteers who donate their time and energy to pull it off. I want to say a special thank you to Mel and Terry Barrie for their volunteer hours over the years. They are amazing people, and we have a courageous and generous community. Thank you very much.