Agenda Index City of Vancouver



Vancouver City Council


Director of Community Services, Social Planning Department


Allocation of 2000 Community Services Grant Reserve for Family and Youth





Approval of grant recommendations requires eight affirmative votes.


This report recommends a grant to Nisha to implement a Vietnamese Youth Program, source of funds being a Family and Youth Reserve from the 2000 Community Services Grant Program. For the past 12 years, the City has provided funding support to the Vietnamese Youth Program, which was sponsored by the Immigrant Services Society (ISS). Based on a review of service needs and priorities for Vietnamese youth commissioned by ISS earlier this year, it is recommended that program sponsorship be transferred to Nisha and that the program be based at the Broadway Youth Resource Centre, which has a primary mandate to provide services to youth in the city, and which has access to various expertise and resources integral to successful youth programming.


For the past 12 years, the City has provided a grant to ISS to provide a Youth Worker to the Vietnamese community. Over the years, the Youth Worker was primarily based at Trout Lake Community Centre, and in 1998 the position was moved to Gladstone Secondary School. Although the work is much needed and valued, concerns were expressed regarding service location as well as the need for a more closely supervised service delivery model. In March of this year, Council approved a 6-month terminating grant to ISS and also approved a reserve in the Community Services Grant budget towards the Vietnamese Youth Program pending a review of service priorities and needs for Vietnamese youth in consultation with the community, service agencies and other funders.

In late spring of 2000, ISS commissioned a review of current programming for Vietnamese youth, gathering information and opinions from youth, parents and service providers within the Vietnamese community and selected service providers from the broader community. The review was completed in August, 2000 and a list of recommendations was put forward regarding new service needs and a clear direction for the program in the next few years.

Social Planning staff agreed with the overall findings of the review. More specifically, the Vietnamese Youth Programming Review (VYPR) recommended:

(a) To reaffirm the primary mandate of the Vietnamese youth programming, which is to provide services and support for Vietnamese youth-at-risk through a variety of strategies planned and carried out in collaboration with youth and service providers;
(b) The target age guidelines for youth-at-risk be from 12-19 years;

(c) To move the sponsorship of the Vietnamese youth program to an organization more focused on youth work; and

(d) To move the Vietnamese Youth Worker position to the Broadway Youth Resource Centre which is a central location serving youth from across the city and which has access to a wide range of programs and services for youth, including counselling, life skills, employment and health services.


The VYPR identified a range of gaps in supports and services for Vietnamese youth. Although the numbers of new arrivals from Vietnam have declined in the second half of the 1990's, the proportion of Vietnamese speakers in the city is still the highest among Lower Mainland municipalities. A total of 3,066 children and youth from Vietnamese-speaking families are currently enrolled in Vancouver schools, 2,069 of them in elementary schools,and 997 in secondary schools. Various other data from community forums held in the last two years also underscore the social and economic pressures and issues faced by some Vietnamese youth and their families.

The transfer of program sponsorship to Nisha will help address issues in appropriateness of service location, and supervision and support to the Youth Worker. Nisha's Broadway Youth Resource Centre is centrally located in the city with a citywide mandate to provide services to youth, particularly those who are at risk. Nisha can offer the youth worker strong clinical support in the youth work field, as they run intervention, peer leadership, and other youth support programs. Evidence of their commitment to service immigrant and minority communities is contained in their 1999-2000 service statistics, which show 40-55% of their clients were identified as visible minorities, and about 10-15% spoke English as a second language.

Further, the geographical focus of their work in East Vancouver matches well with the distribution of the Vietnamese population. The goal of integrating Vietnamese youth into "mainstream" programs and activities can be accomplished by placing the Vietnamese Youth Worker into a "mainstream" agency , and thereby giving youth greater access to a choice of service providers, including non-Vietnamese workers.

ISS can continue to be involved in an advisory capacity to the program after the transfer in order to support the organization as it strengthens, its communications and relationships with Vietnamese community organizations and service providers.


Therefore, in consultation with ISS, Social Planning staff is recommending that Council approve the reserve grant to Nisha to implement the Vietnamese Youth Program. Social Planning staff will be working with Nisha to establish new job descriptions for the Youth Worker to better reflect the requirements of the job, and to also explore the need of creating a small advisory committee, consisting of Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese service professionals, to provide input and serves as the broader link to other service agencies. Further, Nisha will explore other funding sources for the position to ensure long term viability of the program.

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