A self-storage facility that provides storage for the homeless in Vancouver, Canada, is one of several finalists in the running for a $25,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project. The grant is awarded to individuals, businesses and companies who implement positive impacts on their community. The storage program is one of more than 270 submitted projects in the Food and Shelter category. Voting, which ended Oct. 31, is limited to Canadian residents 13 and older.
In October 2009, First United Church received one year of funding from a city grant to cover the costs of storage. In addition to storage, First United provides shelter for 250 people every day, meals, advocacy, showers and access to supportive networks.
If selected as a winner, the grant money will be used to employ seven people, and cover the expenses for cleaning supplies, equipment and pest control.
Providing storage enables the homeless a safe place to keep their belongings and more freedom to live their lives, said Rev. Ric Matthews of First United Church. The storage is available on a short-term basis. Without additional funding, the church will not be able to continue the storage program.