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Posted 26 Mar 2001   For week ended March 09, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 06Mar01

By 'Editor, LDSCaNews'

Businessman Turns to Homeless

VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA -- John Volken, a member of the Vancouver BC Stake, knows how to do business. He overturned furniture sales techniques by offering warehouse locations with no showroom extras, commission-based sales staff, and purchasing direct from manufacturers.

Now the prominent businessman who presides over 150 franchises of United Furniture Warehouse throughout Western Canada, and four US States is going from selling mattresses to providing mattresses.

Volken has a deep concern or the homeless youth and those involved in the drug culture. This concern has sprouted a 23-million dollar complex called "Welcome Home" - a 130-bed, five-story housing facility for such people.

The complex, which takes up an entire city-block in Vancouver's notorious East Side where other shelters send away 200 people each month, will start construction by 2002 on a lot valued at 2.6-million dollars, and will give residents a chance to stay for 30 months as long as they stay away from all drugs and alcohol. They will also receive job training.

In addition to the six million dollars contributed by his foundation, two per cent of all sales from his franchises will go toward the project. Volken will also be lobbying corporations and individuals to help raise another five million dollars.

Volken, who is strong in his faith and credits his beliefs for prompting him to do this, will insist that those staying at Welcome Home say blessing on their meals and receive spiritual counsel.

"We're going to introduce them to it, but the focus will be on love and forgiveness," says Volken. "That's probably not politically correct, but I don't care. A lot of what is politically correct doesn't work."

Vancouver Sun, 28 Feb 2001


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