Delaney Gunn, a youth literacy coordinator at Literacy Central Vancouver Island, has been working to collect the stories of youth experiencing homelessness in and around Nanaimo by sharing them with the public in a magazine series called Place.

“One of the biggest barriers that our youths were expressing was isolation and just feeling like the community didn’t want them or outright hated them,” Gunn said. “So we wanted to counteract that by saying, ‘Not only do we love you and see you, but we want to hear what you have to say and your opinions are valuable and whatever you write, whatever you’re able to hand in, is good.’”  — Delaney Gunn, Magazine collects stories and art by Nanaimo youths experiencing homelessness (Nanaimo News Bulletin, Feb. 3, 2021)

The literacy work builds on connections and relationships established during outreach services that provided more immediate needs, such as personal hygiene goods, food, harm reduction supplies and survival gear. Over time, Delaney and other outreach workers provided writing and art supplies as well, encouraging the youth to share their experiences in poems, artwork and stories.

Delaney Gunn spoke with People First Radio about Place magazine and the experiences of homeless youth living on the streets of Nanaimo. Listen and/or download below.

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Images: (top) Delaney Gunn with Place magazine at the Literacy Central Vancouver Island bookstore in Nanaimo; (below) a few pages from the most recent issue of Place magazine.