The Campbell River and District Coalition to End Homelessness has a new coordinator for the start of 2021.
Stefanie Hendrickson has worked for non-profits for the better part of a decade in the Cariboo region of B.C. She and her family recently moved to Campbell River from Williams Lake, where she worked with the local Boys and Girls Club, as well as the Downtown Business Improvement Association and the Poverty Reduction Strategy.
“I’ve been in non-profit for like 7 or 8 years now, hence the Coalition work really speaks to me. I really love working for non-profits, I love the diversity of the work and the people and the passion that come with whatever projects the organizations have going on. I just find it really rewarding,” she said.
“In any town in B.C. The homeless population is very apparent and… that affects the community. It really shows how many people are slipping through the cracks of our social services systems and really makes you wonder how you can do more to both fulfill the needs of those people who are slipping through the cracks and provide them with housing, food security or whatever the case may be. The bonus is that it creates a nice community atmosphere too,” she continued.
Hendrickson is taking the reins from Kristi Schwanicke, who has moved to a position with the Vancouver Island Mental Health Society. Hendrickson has been on the job for just around three weeks, which included the holidays, but she says she is keen to get to work building relationships and helping move the Coalition forward.
“I’m so impressed with how many different organizations are at the table and the involvement of not just non-profit organizations, but also the business community, the RCMP, the city, and all of these people coming together. it’s just really a neat thing to see,” she said. “I have a passion for community collaboration, for building bridges and bringing people together to get goals accomplished. We can achieve so much more when we work collaboratively.”
“My previous role was with the business improvement association,” she added. “I understand the business community’s concerns as well, so I’m looking forward to reaching out to the business community and really looking forward to partnering with the city to see what sort of things they have on the go. Of course they’re going to be a really key player when it comes to housing strategy in Campbell River.”
Hendrickson comes into the role in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic, which has changed how non-profit work for people experiencing homelessness operates. She said that she’s impressed on how the stakeholders have been able to work together, and is looking forward on working with groups to come out on the other side of the pandemic in a beneficial way.
“Our leadership team and membership are working on our strategic plan, so that going forward we have a really clear plan in place about how we can contribute and what exactly the Coalition’s role is. I think it’s going to be a bit of a transition to see what happens with COVID, and then look beyond that,” she said.
While Campbell River is home to a few non-profits Hendrickson could have focused on for the next part of her career, the Coalition’s work spoke to her.
“It’s the same as with any of these big-picture issues, whether it’s poverty, homelessness, substance abuse or food security, all of these really big basic needs — when we can work together to solve those things it helps everyone,” she said. “I’m really excited to learn more about where they’re at and how we can move forward to address it as an entire community.”