Non-profit helps youth find work despite funding issues

Over 40 and out of a job, Lorie Fairburn turned to Neighbourhood Link and the services available there to help her find work.

And find work she did. The non-profit organization, located near Victoria Park and Danforth avenues, hired her to be its development and marketing manager after she attended several job training programs there.

Her successful-job-hunt story isn’t unique, Fariburn said.

“Seventy-seven per cent of the people that came through [the] unemployment [program] found jobs,” she said.

The Danforth’s economy is like anywhere else in Toronto or Ontario right now: it’s not great.

—Joe Murillo

But despite that success, questions remain about the organization’s future because, Fairburn said, funding is “always an ongoing issue” — an issue that is more pressing now with all three levels of government focused on belt-tightening and a fairly high youth unemployment rate.

“We had a Trillium Fund that was for three years. That’s up,” she said. “We’re trying to replace those funds from another funding stream.”

According to Statistics Canada, the jobless rate for youths between 15 and 24 stands at 14.7 per cent, almost double the total national rate of 7.4 per cent.

“It’s difficult times,” Fairburn said.

Joe Murillo agreed.

The stretch of Danforth between Victoria Park and Coxwell Avenue is home to more then 100 small businesses.

“The Danforth’s economy is like anywhere else in Toronto or Ontario right now: it’s not great,” said Murillo, a local business owner.

In spite of the challenges facing Neighbourhood Link, Fairburn said the centre will continue it’s work of helping people find work.

“We’re funded by three levels of government and United Way so we have funding,” she said.