09:11 AM

Katherine McParland’s legacy continued through new bursary

A woman with blonde hair sits on a bench with her hands on her shins.

Katherine McParland. Photo courtesy of  A Way Home Kamloops.

BC Housing has created a new bursary for youth pursuing education in social work or community services who have experienced housing instability. The bursary is in memory of youth housing advocate Katherine McParland.

Katherine was a passionate and well-respected champion for youth experiencing homelessness. She was also a member of BC Housing’s Board of Commissioners when she passed away unexpectedly in 2020.

As a person with lived experience as a youth in care, Katherine was acutely aware of the lack of supports for youth at risk of homelessness. Katherine spent her career fighting tirelessly for the creation of housing for youth with specialized supports.

“We are so pleased to announce this bursary in memory of Katherine, who was such a dedicated advocate for youth and a dear friend and colleague,” said Cassie Doyle, BC Housing Board of Commissioners Chair. “She was courageous in pushing for the meaningful inclusion of youth with lived experience in decisions that affected them. This bursary is a way to continue Katherine’s legacy and work by giving back to the next generation of advocates and change makers.”

Katherine’s lived and academic expertise led her to found and then lead A Way Home Kamloops. She also served in several high-profile roles, including as co-chair of the BC Coalition to End Youth Homelessness and a member of the federal Advisory Committee on Homelessness.


She was courageous in pushing for the meaningful inclusion of youth with lived experience in decisions that affected them.



Katherine felt youth did not have a voice at the table when decisions affecting them were made so she made it a point to stay in touch with youth and advocate on their behalf.

“Youth are an underrepresented group in many discussions around housing vulnerability, which is something Katherine fought hard to change,” said Susan Russell-Csanyi, Board Member, BC Housing Board of Commissioners. “With this bursary we hope to foster future voices who will continue to advocate for the needs of youth in our province.”

Young adults between the ages of 18-25 who have experience with housing instability are invited to apply for the bursary. Applicants must be enrolled in a recognized B.C. post-secondary or vocational institute with full-time status as of September with a focus on social work or community services. Full eligibility criteria and application forms can be found on the BC Housing Education Awards Program webpage.

The Katherine McParland Bursary is part of BC Housing’s Education Awards Program. The program provides financial support to post secondary and training program students from households receiving housing subsidies or rental assistance.

Applications for the Katherine McParland Bursary are open from January 1 to April 30 each year.