Two Nanaimo residents are recipients of BC Housing Education Awards that will help them further their education, achieve their goals and improve their lives.
"The BC Housing Education Awards provide financial support for British Columbians working towards their academic goals," said Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Housing. "This year's award recipients are creating opportunities for themselves and the provincial government is proud to contribute to their future success."
"Our government knows that if we are going to compete in the global economy, we must do everything we can to encourage the pursuit of higher education," said Ron Cantelon, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. "These awards are a clear recognition of these students' commitment and dedication."
Anyone in British Columbia who is living in subsidized housing, or receiving rent subsidies through BC Housing's Rental Assistance Program, is eligible to apply for the 98 bursaries and awards. The funds can be put towards tuition or other educational expenses such as books or supplies.
For Nanaimo resident Lisa Smith, a single mom with four children, the $750 BC Housing Bursary Award will assist her in receiving her diploma as a community support worker.
"I have spent most of my adult life raising my children and trying to be a positive role model to them," Lisa said. "Times are tough right now, but I know if I can just get through these two years of schooling, I will have a good paying job that I will love. That means everything to me as I've waited a lot of years to be able to do this."
Applicants submitted a personal statement describing their educational and personal goals, and challenges they have overcome, as well as letters of reference and academic transcripts. The BC Housing Education Awards Program offers five types of awards and bursaries:
- BC Housing Bursary - 72 bursaries, worth $750 each, to support youth or adults between 17 and 64 to pursue adult basic education, vocational education or post-secondary education on a full- or part-time basis.
- BC Housing Award for Full-Time Studies - 10 awards, worth $1,000 each, to support youth or adults between 17 and 64 pursuing post-secondary or vocational education on a full-time basis.
- Margaret Mitchell Outstanding Achievement Award - Margaret Mitchell was a dedicated housing advocate and helped develop the BC Housing's Education Awards Program. This $750 award recognizes a youth graduating from Grade 12 for excellence in academics, sports, the arts or community involvement who will pursue education or vocational training on a full-time basis.
- Minerva Foundation Award for BC Women - There are five $1,000 awards to help Aboriginal women pursue full-time, post-secondary education. This award is designed to help single mothers advance their education, assist women with children fleeing abusive relationships, retrain mature women returning to the workforce, advance women in non-traditional fields of study, and support women with disabilities to overcome educational barriers.
- The Kinloch Education Award for women - 10 awards at $1,000 each are awarded to women who may have overcome significant barriers in their lives which hindered their educational opportunities and who are now pursuing post-secondary education on a full- or part-time basis.
Over the last decade, the Province has invested $2.8 billion to provide affordable housing for low income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 95,000 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.
Visit www.bchousing.org to learn more about provincial programs and services to address homelessness.