Established in 2021, the Katherine McParland Changemaker Award recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated significant achievement and leadership in delivering secure, affordable housing for youth, preventing and ending youth homelessness, and engaging youth in the development and delivery of housing, programs and services.

This award is presented in partnership with the BC Coalition to End Youth Homelessness.

 

Purpose

To recognize an individual or organization whose work has made a measurable, positive impact in youth housing and homelessness in British Columbia.

Eligibility

The nominee for this award may be any individual or organization who has shown dedication, vision and leadership in delivering and/or advocating for youth housing, programs and services.

Membership in BCNPHA or the BC Coalition to End Youth Homelessness is not required. Individual nominees can be volunteers or employees of non-profit housing providers. Nominations for youth who may or may not be affiliated with a non-profit housing provider or youth-serving organization are welcomed and strongly encouraged.

Award Criteria

Outstanding leadership and achievement in youth housing

  • Has demonstrated leadership in delivering and/or advocating for youth housing and in addressing youth homelessness.
  • Embodies Katherine McParland’s spirit of innovation, her emphasis on possibilities over probabilities and in finding the silver lining when faced with challenges.
  • Has demonstrated a “rooted in action” approach to the delivery of housing, advocacy and/or programs and services for youth.
  • Has advocated for the prevention of and end to youth homelessness by delivering accessible services with wraparound supports.
  • May be a young person who has shown leadership in advocating for youth housing, programs and services, and/or in preventing or ending youth homelessness.

Involvement of youth in the organization’s or individual’s work

  • Has involved youth voices in leadership opportunities to find solutions.
  • Ensures youth are part of decision-making in housing delivery and/or advocacy, programs and services.
  • Provides no- or low-barrier opportunities for youth to bring their lived expertise to engagement through employment, committee participation, or advisory positions.

2022 Inaugural Award Recipient: Susan Russell-Csanyi, Society for Children and Youth of BC

Susan Russell-Csanyi brings her lived expertise to advocating for improvements to the child welfare system, advocating for the needs of young people transitioning from care, and delivering change for youth on a provincial and national scale.

Katherine McParland (1987-2020)

Katherine McParland was a passionate advocate for youth experiencing homelessness and housing instability. She was the driving force behind A Way Home Kamloops, a non-profit organization advocating for housing with wraparound supports for marginalized youth in the region, co-chair of the BC Coalition to End Youth Homelessness, a BC Housing board member and a member of the federal government’s advisory committee on homelessness.

Her lived experience of being in government care, and her own experience of homelessness, informed her tireless efforts to centre the voices of young people in decision-making around youth housing. She shared her story candidly and openly, an anchor to her steadfast position that there be “nothing about us without us” in youth housing discussions.

While she was Executive Director of A Way Home Kamloops, Katherine completed her Master’s degree in social work; her research described foster care as the “superhighway to homelessness” and has informed youth housing policy for several years.

Katherine McParland passed away in December 2020. This award recognizes individuals and organizations who, like her, are deeply committed to supporting young people and involving youth in all aspects of decision-making, policy development and delivery of youth housing and homelessness services.

To learn more about her work, please watch Katherine’s 2018 TED Talk at the link below: