Homelessness Can Happen to Anyone

Frank Bourree, principle at Chemistry Consulting Group, is one of the newest members of the Coalition’s Leadership Council. Frank has a personal reason for wanting to be a part of an organization dedicated to ending homelessness in Greater Victoria, he was homeless as a youth. Frank has generously offered to share his journey in and out of homelessness:

Frank Bourree

I lost my father when I was seven. My sister passed away when I was just a teenager. Their deaths were too much for my mother, she fell apart within six months of losing my sister and eventually left. I found myself at the age of 14 living on the street.I spent most of my time on the street in downtown Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. I was totally unaware that there were services available that could help me. After 3 months on the street I found myself a job in a restaurant – so I could eat. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was my saving grace. I worked six nights a week, couch surfing until I found a good roommate. I managed to put myself through high school and on to some college courses.

I worked my way up in the company to BC Regional Manager. I purchased six A&W restaurants and built them up to ten on Vancouver Island.

I sold my restaurants in 1993, got a CMC designation from Royal Roads University and went into the consulting business with Grant Thornton. There I had the opportunity to start a pilot employment program for welfare recipients moving into restaurant jobs. The pilot proved extremely successful and was rolled out province wide in 1994. Since then we have placed more than 40,000 British Columbians on welfare in the restaurant industry.

I made partner at Grant Thornton Chartered Accountants, and in 2006 when Grant Thornton got out of the consulting business they gave me the practice.

Since then I have built GT Hiring Solutions (which operates eight WorkBC Employment Centres) and Chemistry HR and Business Consulting to over 100 staff.

With hard work, ingenuity and a little luck I was able to pull myself out of homelessness. I am passionate about giving back to this wonderful community and feel blessed to be in a position to help people like myself be all they can be.

– Frank Bourree