Members of the Youth Homelessness Task Force have been busy this summer planning an outdoor concert and fair to help raise awareness and funds for a youth emergency shelter.

Youth task force plans concert in support of homeless peers

Sept. 24 event at Langley Events Centre will feature live music, information booths and a barbecue/food area

It may be their summer holiday, but for a group of dedicated Langley students, July and August have been anything but a break.

Members of the Youth Homelessness Task Force have been  busy planning an outdoor concert and fair to help raise awareness and funds for a youth emergency shelter.

The volunteer group, made up of about 15 students, will host a concert fun day at the Langley Events Centre rugby field on Sept. 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

They have already secured several local rock bands and dance groups to perform. They also plan on having a DJ, booth from the RCMP, youth and school groups, and a barbecue/food area.

The concert will be free, but cost of admission to the grounds will be a minimum $2 donation, $4 for adults.

Several of the students on the task force, along with Brookswood Secondary teacher Lenny Yun, came to Township council on July 25 to ask for help in covering the $2,500 cost of securing the rugby field and a stage.

The group told council that in 2015-16, there were 162 Langley youth at risk of homelessness, and according to the City of Langley’s homelessness strategic plan, youth represent 22 per cent of the homeless population.

Because they are not seen on the streets, many homeless youth are considered invisible, which has created a community “un-awareness” of this issue, the students said.

And with emergency shelters only available to adults 19 and over, the students are asking the government — and the community — to step up and create resources for at-risk youth.

“There is, of course, a gap in our system in Langley and we are still wondering why we are not supporting our most vulnerable, which is our youth who are on the streets, and also what can we do to better inform people of this gap and to help fix it,” Yun said in a presentation to council.

The outdoor concert will be a lead-up to a walk for homeless youth planned for Oct. 6.

At the end of the meeting, council agreed to provide up to $2,500 to help the students with the event costs, should they be successful in their application.

However, Township CAO Mark Bakken added that there may be additional insurance fees that may not be covered by the amount the group asked for.

Coun. Angie Quaale also asked that the group be referred to the grant application process for future events.

If you would like to be a sponsor for this event, contact Lenny at lyun@sd35.bc.ca.

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