Young adults who have experienced housing instability and are pursuing post-secondary education in social work or community services now have access to a new bursary named in honour of Katherine McParland.
“We are so pleased to announce this bursary in memory of Katherine, who was such a dedicated advocate for youth, and a dear friend and colleague,” said Cassie Doyle, chair, BC Housing Board of Commissioners. “She was courageous in pushing for the meaningful inclusion of youth with lived experience in decisions that affected them. This award is a way to continue Katherine’s legacy and work by giving back to the next generation of advocates and change makers.”
McParland was an inspirational advocate for youth who dedicated her career to ending youth homelessness. She passed away unexpectedly in 2020. McParland's lived and academic expertise led her to found and lead A Way Home Kamloops, a non-profit organization that provides housing and support services to youth at risk of or experiencing homelessness. McParland served in several high-profile roles, including as co-chair of the BC Coalition to End Youth Homelessness and a member of the federal Advisory Committee on Homelessness. She was also a valued member of BC Housing’s Board of Commissioners, where she chaired the Human Resources Committee.
McParland's impact is felt throughout the supportive housing community. As a person with experience as a youth in care, she was acutely aware of the lack of supports for youth at risk of homelessness and fought tirelessly for the creation of housing for youth with specialized supports.
“Katherine improved the lives of everyone she met, and this award will help carry on her important work,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development. “I would like to thank BC Housing for ensuring Katherine’s contributions are well recognized. Her legacy will live on in generations of youth to come.”
Katherine’s Place, a housing project for youth transitioning out of care in Kamloops, is under development.
“Youth are an under-represented group in many discussions around housing vulnerability, which is something Katherine fought hard to change,” said Susan Russell-Csanyi, board member, BC Housing Board of Commissioners. “We hope to help youth with lived expertise in government care remain centred in the work we do, and we will continue to advocate for the needs of youth in our province.”
Young adults 18 to 25 who have experience with housing instability are invited to apply. Applicants must be enrolled in a recognized B.C. post-secondary or vocational institute with a focus on social work or community services, and have full-time status in September of the application year.
The Katherine McParland Bursary is part of BC Housing’s Education Awards Program, which provides financial support to post-secondary and training program students from households receiving housing subsidies or rental assistance.
Applications for the bursary award are now open. The awards committee will review applications and award the bursary prior to the start of the 2022-23 school year.
Full eligibility criteria and application forms can be found at the BC Housing Education Awards Program webpage: