Mini Tent City Needs;Meet Some Peeps.

I met Alison Acker down at the mini tent city by the court house this afternoon.  She brought some food and inquiries as to how folks were doing.  She thought it looked pretty decent down there, a nice vibe was felt.


I met with Robert, he and I spoke of how Lisa Helps has offered to help house folks and how some need it more than others.  He was willing to allow those who need it more to get it faster, he wa a very caring man.

Very thoughtful.  I spoke with him and he agreed that he has also met those who just might now want it based upon their own personal issues or experiences of abuse in past while being housed.  The film Taking The Fall and Rising speaks to this in regards to the First Nations woman Lorraine who was abused in homes and went homeless for safety.  We do not know their stories and its best we go down and hear them out folks.  Robert asked after Derek Booker, I was able to share how him and I had jsut messaged each other on facebook.  He sends a big hello to Derek and says ‘Come and say hey.”.  If you do go, and you enter it off Quadra mid block opening, Robert is at other end right side almost 3/4 way thru!

Robert is someone who understands old school, watching out for each others backs, knows we can have diversity in housing and that alternatives such as mini tent cities and micro housing villages (Victoria is currently co-creating this village with homeless and lived experience of homelessness as well as housed, we are in stages of developing trust with one another as many of us are new to each other and, many of us have differing values and beliefs.  We move forward such as these folks are here.

Robert needs a tent, badly. I think maybe some ground sheet and a rain covering sheet as well ( the one in photo has a lot of holes, he is currently using a make shift tent out of ground sheets, a roll on ground, I think it would be great to bring folks good size sheets of cardboard and go back the next day and see if they need replenishing).



Then I went for a walk about in the camp and I met Kristal.  She wants a home!  Her stuff is in storage and I think there are concerns about that, her life is boxed up and hanging in limbo, heart wrenching.  She is a very strong person and old school is also her way.  I think I met another kindred spirit!  She needs a tent, ground sheet’s and a mat to sleep on, she can use an air mattress (her request as another woman has one and she said it was very comfortable and way warmer, maybe the air helps with that?) or GOOD STOCK of FLATTENED cardboard and plastic sheets for under that, she can use some compassion right now.



I went further and some folks called out for socks.  I met this fellow and saw he needed a tent as well, sadly I forgot his name but, him and his wife need a tent.



Then I met this younger fellow I also liked a lot, we talked music and I said I might come by with a friend on friday and bring guitars, it will have to be before 2:00pm.  Just saying.  He too needed a tent. He did not want to show his face so, in solidarity I placed my hand on his shoulder and said I’d put this out for him.



Lastly, this couple requested socks, sleeping bag and ground sheets.



Thank you community for helping out, you asked, here is the list for right now:

5 sleeping bags.

8 plastic sheets to serve as rain protection and ground sheets

12 pairs of wool socks and sweaters (at least).

Air mattress / matts for ground with and a few ground sheets.

LOTS of flattened clean cardboard which is a great insulator.



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Mayor Says Housing, Not A Crack-Down, Is The Goal For Courthouse Campers.

Mayor says housing, not a crack-down, is the goal for courthouse campers

“What we do want to do is get those 20 to 30 people into housing. That is what we’re very actively working on over the next couple days.  What we don’t want to do is break up the camp and have everyone disperse into the small neighborhood parks again.”

NOTE: Although I am glad that some who want to go into housing that is available gets housing, although, its good to note: Not all folks want to be in  housing offered where by they are separated, isolated and all to often in a unhealthy building re: mould/mildews, that is the problem with housing, so say many folks who are homeless.

It was great to go and check out the mini tent city which formed itself at the Courthouse.

I just spoke with Robyn Spilker down at Carol James office.  She helped clarify a few points for us at Committee To End Homelessness Victoria and our Anti Poverty Action Group.

The province is in charge of this land, specifically the Ministry of Technology Innovation and Citizen Services.

The Minister

To continue: He works with local WSI operations who cares for that land and they work with Court Services who is the tenant.  All three work together.  So far no one is wanting to kick them out, that is a relief.

Reverend Al from the Dandelion Society has been on top of this and has been doing great interviews supporting our homeless family members who are tenting.  I understand that he is dealing with the sheriffs at the courthouse? It seems more appropriate to deal with ann employee of the Courthouse?  A manager?  Why the sheriff?  Does the minister deal with the sheriff ‘s as well?  Who is the person of authority to deal with?  If indeed it is the sheriff, that is problematic and troubling.

I urge us all to support our family by going down and meeting with folks, see what you can do to support.  Do not wait, now is the time.  “Give direct” as I overheard a citizen state to media while I was there.

I’d hope outreach services are able to go in and care for harm reduction needs.  AVI and 713 Outreach could do so and I am sure are.

A young man I know could use some support to go to CoolAid dental as he is having a dental crisis.  This means he has to get up and go down for 0700 to get a spot!  He is set up on south side by sidewalk, say kym hothead sent you.  He can use a ride and a hot drink before he goes.  I am sure if you help get him there he can handle the rest.

Do not be shy, show your support, we need it.

Acoustical Musicians can go and share some musical love in the day time as there is a nice center area:

Bring healthy food snacks like  oranges / apples / grapefruits / veggies and dips.  Coffee, tea, water.

If you are unable to go yourself, you can ask Reverend Al what is needed.  I know ground sheets, wool socks, wool sweaters and sleeping bags are essential.

I am moved by this, and hope this community can see it in their huge hearts I know we have to care for our homeless family.  We are in a system which Legislates Poverty so, lets end it with lobbying for a Livable4ALl income guarantee, asMartin Luther King himself stated “I am about to begin an international campaign for the eradication of poverty thru use of a livable income for all…I realised there were more white poor men in America than black men, that this was not merely a race issue.. “(paraphrased)





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What Is Consensus?

Title: Consensus Decision Making

What is consensus?

Consensus is a decision-making process that works creatively to include all persons making the decision. Instead of simply voting for an item, and having the majority of the group getting their way, the group is committed to finding solutions that everyone can live with. This ensures that everyone’s opinions, ideas and reservations are taken into account. But consensus is more than just a compromise. It is a process that can result in surprising and creative solutions — often better than the original suggestions.

Consensus can work in all types of settings: small groups of activists, local communities, businesses, even whole nations and territories. The Zapatista movement in lower Mexico (Oaxaca and Chiapas) answers to a public control called “la consulta”. This group — comprised of all men, women and children age 12 and over — meets in local meetings where discussion is held and all the members make the final decision.

Within a small group of up to 20 people consensus tends to be more simple, as everyone can get to know each other and reach a mutual understanding of backgrounds, values and viewpoints. For larger groups different processes have been developed, such as splitting into smaller units for discussion and decision-making with constant exchange and feedback between the different units. Our briefing Consensus In Large Groups has more examples and ideas for reaching consensus with hundreds and even thousands of people.

What’s wrong with majority voting?

Many of us have been brought up in a culture which believes that the western-style system with one-person-one-vote and elected leaders is the supreme form of democracy. Yet in the very nations which shout loudest about the virtues of democracy, many people don’t even bother voting anymore, because they feel that it doesn’t make any difference to their lives.When people vote for an executive they also hand over their power to make decisions and to effect change. This goes hand in hand with creating a majority and a minority, with the minority often feeling deeply unhappy with the outcome.

It is true that majority voting enables even controversial decisions to be taken in a minimum amount of time, however there is nothing to say that this decision will be a wise one or morally acceptable. After all the majority of colonial Americans supported the ‘right’ to hold slaves. People in a majority rule system don’t need to listen to the dissenting minority, or take their opinion seriously because they can simply outvote them. Majority rule systems say that the majority is infallible and they have nothing to learn from the minority.

This creates a situation where there are winners and losers and promotes an aggressive culture and conflict, and lends itself to steam rolling an idea over a minority that dissents with the majority opinion. The will of the majority is seen as the will of the whole group, with the minority expected to accept and carry out the decision, even if against their most deeply held convictions and principles. A vivid example is the imprisonment of conscientious objectors against military service in democratic countries such as Germany.

Why use consensus?

In contrast to majority voting consensus decision-making is about finding common ground and solutions that are acceptable to all. Decisions are reached in a dialogue between equals, who take each other seriously and who recognise each other’s equal rights.

People are often inactive because they feel that they have no power in the system and that their voice won’t be listened to anyway. In consensus every person has the power to make changes in the system, and to prevent changes that they find unacceptable. The right to veto a decision means that minorities cannot just be ignored, but creative solutions will have to be found to deal with their concerns.

Another benefit of consensus is that all members agree to the final decision and therefore are much more committed to actually turning this decision into reality.

Consensus is about participation and equalising power. It can also be a very powerful process for building communities and empowering individuals.

Who uses consensus?

Consensus is not a new idea, but has been tested and proven around the world. Non-hierarchical societies have existed on the American continent for hundreds of years. Before 1600, five nations — the Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, and Seneca — formed the Haudenosaunee Confederation, working on a consensual basis and which is still in existence today. Each Nation within the Confederacy selects individuals to represent them at confederacy meetings. Issues are discussed until all are in agreement on a common course of action. Never would the majority force their will upon the minority. Similarly no one could force a warrior to go to war against their better judgement.

A second example of consensus based organisation is the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The Muscogee have the oldest political institutions in North America, with a recorded history going back beyond 400 years. If consensus on a major issue could not be achieved to everyone’s satisfaction, people were free to move and set up their own community with the support — not the enmity — of the town they were leaving. This is in stark contrast to political organisation today, where the state’s need to control its citizens makes it virtually impossible for individuals disagreeing with general policy to just go and do their own thing.

Consensus cannot only be found in the indigenous societies around the world but also throughout European history. Many medieval institutions, such as guilds, town councils, the influential Hanseatic trading league as well as governing bodies of countries (German and Polish Imperial Courts) required unity.

There are also many examples of successful and stable utopian communes using consensus decision-making, such as the Christian Herrnhueter settlements 1741-1760/61 and the production commune Boimondeau in France 1941–1972. The Herrnhueter complemented the consensus system with the drawing of lots to choose the members of the community council, making intrigue and power politics superfluous. This tool for decision-making is unfortunately rarely used or discussed today, even though it can offer a fair way out of a decision-making dilemma.

Christiania, an autonomous district in the city of Copenhagen has been self-governed by its inhabitants using consensus since 1970. This includes regulating economic, cultural and educational issues, water and electricity supply, health and security.

Within the co-operative movement many housing co-ops and businesses are using consensus successfully, including making difficult financial and management decisions. A prominent example is Radical Routes, a network of housing and workers’ co-ops all using consensus decision-making. Through Rootstock Radical Routes raises and loans out substantial sums of money to member co-ops.

Many activists working for peace, the environment and social justice regard consensus as essential to their work. They believe that the methods for achieving change need to match their goals and visions of a free, non-violent, egalitarian society. Consensus is also a way of building community, trust, a sense of security and mutual support — important in times of stress and emergency.

In the antimilitarist protests at Greenham Common in the 1980s thousands of women participated in actions and experimented with consensus. Mass actions involving several thousand people have repeatedly been planned and carried out using consensus.

How does consensus work?

There are many different formats and ways of building consensus. Some groups have developed detailed procedures, whereas in other groups it may be an organic process. This also depends on the size of the group and how well people know each other. Below we have outlined a process that covers all the aspects of consensus, but can easily be adapted to fit your group. There are however a few conditions that have to be met for consensus building to be possible:

  • Common Goal:All members of the group/meeting need to be united in a common goal, whether it is an action, living communally or greening the neighbourhood. It helps to clearly establish what this overall goal of the group is and to write it down as well. In situations where consensus seems difficult to achieve, it helps to come back to this common goal and to remember what the group is all about.
  • Commitment to consensus building:All members of the group must be committed to reaching consensus on all decisions taken. It can be very damaging if individuals secretly want to return to majority voting, just waiting for the chance to say “I told you it wouldn’t work”. Consensus requires commitment, patience and willingness to put the group first.
  • Sufficient time:for making decisions as well as to learn to work in this way.
  • Clear process:Make sure that the group is clear about the process they will use for tackling any given issue. Agree beforehand on processes and guidelines. In most cases this will include having one or more facilitators to help the group move through the process. See also our briefing on Facilitation.

The process

There are lots of consensus models (see flowchart in the Resources section).The following basic procedure is taken fromPeace News (June 1988), a magazine for peace activists:

  1. The problem, or decision needing to be made, is defined and named. It helps to do this in a way that separates the problems/questions from personalities.
  2. Brainstorm possible solutions. Write them all down, even the crazy ones. Keep the energy up for quick, top-of-the head suggestions.
  3. Create space for questions or clarification on the situation.
  4. Discuss the options written down. Modify some, eliminate others, and develop a short list. Which are the favourites?
  5. State the proposal or choice of proposals so that everybody is clear.
  6. Discuss the pros and cons of each proposal — make sure everybody has a chance to contribute.
  7. If there is a major objection, return to step 6 (this is the time-consuming bit). Sometimes you may need to return to step 4.
  8. If there are no major objections, state the decisions and test for agreement.
  9. Acknowledge minor objections and incorporate friendly amendments.
  10. Check for consensus.

What if we cannot agree?

In all but a very few cases the above model will achieve consensus within the group providing there is commitment to coming to a decision. However there are times when one or more people disagree more or less strongly with the rest of the group and no solution is in sight. Listed below are some ways of dealing with this. The first two, non-support and standing aside, allow the group to proceed with the decision, whilst allowing reservations to be expressed. See also the section When not to use consensus

Non-support: “I don’t see the need for this, but I’ll go along with it.”

Standing aside: “I personally can’t do this, but I won’t stop others from doing it.” The person standing aside is not responsible for the consequences. This should be recorded in the minutes.

Veto/major objection: A single veto/major objection blocks the proposal from passing. If you have a major objection it means that you cannot live with the proposal if it passes. It is so objectionable to you/those you are representing that you will stop the proposal. A major objection isn’t an “I don’t really like it “ or “I liked the other idea better.” It is an “I cannot live with this proposal if it passes, and here is why?.!”. The group can either accept the veto or discuss the issue further and draw up new proposals. The veto is a powerful tool and should be used with caution.

Agree to disagree: the group decides that no agreement can be reached on this issue. What can be done when we genuinely need to reach agreement and we are poles apart? Here are some suggestions:

  • Allow the person most concerned to make the decision.
  • Leave the decision for later or take a break. Have an energising activity or a cup of tea.
  • Ask everyone to argue convincingly the point of view they like the least.
  • Break down the decision into smaller areas. See which ones you can agree on and see what points of disagreement are left.
  • Identify the assumptions and beliefs underlying the issue. Get to the heart of the matter.
  • Imagine what will happen in six months, a year, five year’s time if you don’t agree. How important is the decision now?
  • Put all the possibilities into a hat and pull one out. Agree in advance on this solution.
  • Bring in a facilitator. If your group is unable to work through conflicts or if similar issues keep coming up, think about bringing in a professional facilitator or mediator who is trained in conflict-resolution techniques.
  • Some groups also have majority voting as a backup, often requiring an overwhelming vote such as 80 or 90% to make a decision valid.

Leaving the group: If one person continually finds him/herself at odds with the rest of the group, it may be time to think about the reasons for this. Is this really the right group to be in? A group may also ask a member to leave.

Guidelines for consensus building

  • Make sure everyone understands the topic/problem. While building consensus make sure everyone is following, listening to and understanding each other.
  • Ensure that all members contribute their ideas and knowledge related to the subject.
  • Explain your own position clearly. Listen to other member’s reactions and consider them carefully before pressing your point.
  • Be respectful and trust each other. This is not a competition. Nobody must be afraid to express their ideas and opinions. Remember that we all have different values and opinions, different behaviours, different areas and thresholds of distress.
  • Do not assume that someone must win and someone must lose when discussion reaches stalemate. Instead look for the most acceptable solution for all parties.
  • Distinguish between vetos/major objections and discomfiture/amendments. A veto/major objection is a fundamental disagreement with the core of the proposal.
  • Do not change your mind simply to avoid conflict and achieve harmony. When agreement seems to come quickly and easily, be suspicious, explore the reasons and be sure that everyone accepts the solution for basically similar or complementary reasons. Many of us are scared of open disagreement and avoid it where we can. Easily reached consensus may cover up low esteem or lack of safety for some people to express their disagreements openly.
  • Differences of opinion are natural and to be expected. Seek them out and try to involve everyone in the decision process. Disagreements can help the group’s decision, because with a wide range of information and opinions, there is a greater chance the group will hit on more adequate solutions. However you must also be flexible and willing to give something up to reach an agreement in the end.
  • Remember that the ideal present behind consensus is empowering versus overpowering, agreement versus majorities/minorities. The process of consensus is what you put into it as an individual and a part of the group. Be open and honest about the reasons for your view points.
  • Think before you speak, listen before you object.
  • Allow enough time for the process of building consensus. Being quick is not a sign of quality. Thinking issues through properly needs time. For taking major decisions or in a controversial situation, it is always a good idea to postpone the decisions, “to sleep on it”.

When not to use consensus

From Starhawk’s book Truth or Dare:

When there is no group in mind

A group thinking process cannot work effectively unless the group is cohesive enough to generate shared attitudes and perceptions. When deep divisions exist within a group?s bonding over their individual desires, consensus becomes an exercise in frustration.

When there are no good choices

Consensus process can help a group find the best possible solution to a problem, but it is not an effective way to make either-or-choices between evils, for members will never be able to agree which is worse. If the group has to choose between being shot and hung, flip a coin. When a group gets bogged down trying to make a decision, stop for a moment and consider: Are we blocked because we are given an intolerable situation? Are we being given the illusion, but not the reality, of choice? Might our most empowering act be to refuse to participate in this farce?

When they can see the whites of your eyes

In emergencies, in situations where urgent and immediate action is necessary, appointing a temporary leader may be the wisest course of action.

When the issue is trivial

I have known groups to devote half an hour to trying to decide by consensus whether to spend forty minutes or a full hour at lunch. Remember consensus is a thinking process ? where there is nothing to think about, flip a coin.

When the group has insufficient information

When you’re lost in the hills, and no one knows the way home, you cannot figure out how to get there by consensus. Send out scouts. Ask: Do we have the information we need to have to solve this problem? Can we get it?

Common problems and how to overcome them

Consensus can be time consuming

Since it is a lengthier process to look at ideas until all objections are resolved, your group meetings may be longer and some decisions might regularly take more than a week to decide. However consensus need not involve everyone at every stage of the process:

  • Get a small group, or even a pair, to go away and synthesise the discussions and brainstorms of the whole group into a few possible solutions to be discussed later by the whole group.
  • Split up the meeting to deal with several issues in parallel and come back with a platter of proposals. This can speed up the meeting threefold or more.
  • Not every decision needs to involve the whole group. Set up working groups on different areas, such as publicity, fund-raising, research. These sub-group can then decide the nitty-gritty business that they are responsible for, within certain limits that the group has defined beforehand.

Time pressure

Time pressure to find a solution to an urgent problem leads to stress and group pressure “to just get on with it”.

  • Try to make sure enough time is allowed in the agenda to tackle all issues adequately. Prioritise which decisions need to be taken there and then and which ones can wait a while.
  • You could also try to find a temporary solution.

Overuse/underuse/misuse of the right to veto

Actively participating in groups can be hard enough, and using a veto more so, particularly for people who feel unconfident in groups. It can involve standing up to — perceived or actual — group pressure and impatience. Many people are tempted to keep quiet (at least in a vote they can raise their hand) and important conflicts are sometimes avoided. In the hands of those used to more than their fair share of power and attention, the veto can be a lethal tool. It can magnify their voices, and be used to guard against changes that might affect their power base and influence.

In a well functioning group vetos should be rarely if ever seen — not only because they are a last resort, but also because ideally a member’s unhappiness should be picked up on before before it gets to a veto stage.

  • Try to uncover the group dynamics at work. The way people behave in groups generally reflect some hidden needs or past experiences.
  • Work on creating a safe atmosphere. Challenge put-downs, discriminatory and aggressive behaviour. Make use of facilitation as a tool for involving all members of the group equally
  • Don’t be afraid of making modifications to your consensus procedure. Some groups allow the possibility to fall back on an overwhelming majority vote or on drawing lots, if an issue cannot be resolved by consensus.

The group is too large

For groups of more than 15–20 people it is advisable to split into sub groups for meaningful discussion. For a detailed discussion of possible processes have a look at our briefing Consensus in Large Groups.

And finally

Consensus is about participation and equalizing power. It can also be a very powerful process for building communities and empowering individuals. Don’t be discouraged if the going gets rough. For most of us consensus is a completely new way of making decisions. It takes time to unlearn the patterns of behavior we have been brought up to accept as the norm. Consensus does get easier with practice and it’s definitely worth giving it a good try.


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A Dream Foreclosed:Black America And A Fight For A Place To Call Home.

A book by Laura Gottesdiener

Forward by: Clarence Lusane

Here is a link to this article. I will paste some of article below.


What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?





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Flooding At CRD Housing, ooops!

The alarm bells went off last night at 1855 Quadra Ave, it was about 8pm.  It took me a bit to get dressed, check outside on balcony, smelling for smoke, no smoke smell in hallway, got fully dressed I went out to see what as up.

It turns out a neighbour’s door at the other end of the building form me had water pouring out from under their door!  I tried knocking to see if anyone was in the apartment.  I went down one flight of stairs and saw water coming from roof.  I went outside and found out that the people were out of that apartment

t and that one of their neighbours had their child in their arms to help calm them.  The parent was cooking and had a stovetop fire with some oil.  They got the fire out after some small 1st degree burns on one hand, unfortunately the sprinklers went off and, well, there was no way of stoping that.


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We were flooding.  We waited for the fire department, when they came they needed help to get into building, and, I had to help them into parking lot as they were trying to find the box which helps them to shut off sprinklers.  That was intense to say the least.  I am not sure why the fire department did not seem to know how to access that.  It took longer than needed.

In the meantime, after I let them in basement and I realised this was taking too long, I went back up and spoke with tenants who were watching the water levels rise., letting them know fire department were on it and lets find pails to help out, others called CRD to get more help as well. Good team work!

Here are some photo’s from this am, when I went to bed last night they were still vacuuming up water, the lower level was still dripping, it seemed to be leaking all thru the building thru the sprinkler system.

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I have to add: I had 2 CRD managers come over due to my bringing up concerns about feces (human excrement) being left around the building for what seems like a few years, my door not sealed and the hallways being cold as heck.  In that meeting with CRD this past Monday Nov. 16th, I requested that CRD please insure the heat is turned on in the building.   Tenants stated the heat was not turned on last winter and the hallways were cold.  My door is not sealed so, I am not about to pay to heat the hallway on my dime.  I was told the heat was turned on last Monday.

I was also told not expect that this heat from building will heat my apartment, I thought that was kind of patronizing, but anyways, since the heat was turned on it is still cold in my hallway up on 4th floor, feels like an air conditioner is on, not the heat!  

I hope we get some heat in our hallway soon and my door frame is sealed as they said it would be sooner than later, or I AM PAYING TO HEAT THE HALLWAY as I said I did not want to do.

I also know that heating the building is critical to help keeping mould including black mould and mildews away.

I am currently needing to sit down and create a handout for this building, the managers helped me understand how it works here re: the process needed to get stuff done.

If you want to help me collate information for the first handout that the Anti Poverty Action Group does for my building, it would be grat if we can plan to have that meeting here next couple of days.

I already got one offer!  Thanks eko.

kym hothead hines










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Anti Poverty Action Group:APAG

Anti Poverty Action Group


Committee To End Homelessness Victoria will now have this working group which aims to fulfill commitments of the CTEHV.

We support a Livable Income4All Income which Martin Luther Kind himself knew was the answer to eradicate poverty, that and building the homes.

We support a Diverse Social Housing model which includes Mini Tent Cities, Micro Housing Villages, Leed style social housing being built by Passive House design, co housing middle class movements building alongside Micro Housing Villages which are filled with previously homeless.  The Diverse Social Housing Model is inclusive and has at its base a Harm Reduction model which includes treatment and detox on demand.

This is all based upon a self governing model, if we truly want unity then we must help build strong communities by reaching back when we call out for help in anti oppression analysis and help in that re: conflict resolution.  I have been learning a lot about lateral violence thru having to be the recipient of it far to often, and, I just spoke with a first nations sister who is a good friend this am,  we spoke of what we see as our community’s need to heal around lateral violence, she said a powerful statement, I want to share; “first nations people have had to look at lateral violence a lot, we learned it from the coloniser”.  We all have a place in production of a healthy community.  Lets be inclusive and get a boundary on our judgements we throw out.  Please help check those with compassion who do lateral violence so that we can grow as a community.  If we do not do this for each other we can not move forward in unity.

If you are interested in working on any one of these issues, please send an email stating what you’d like to be a part of and the times you are available to do the leafletting or letter writing, or gardening, or help to hold up a banner for one hour a week, or a month…come and help at renters union meetings, help build informative helpful leaflets and hand outs for each building we will work with…

We will be going to where the poor are and go from there.  We need homes and we are the ones we have been waiting for who are going to get them built!  We need mini tent cities that are self governed and help build the community around them.

We are going to build ourselves up from the bottom cause that is where we are currently. No One is going to come and save us so we lead and see who moves forward with us.

We can use any help to build empowerment from the ground up, to have us lead with compassion and commitment, and to help get struggling voices heard, we will work together to co-create what is needed including gardens for food security.

In solidarity,

Kym Hothead Hines


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I Am So Proud Of Us.

I am so proud of us…
“Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps will write to the Capital Regional District and local municipalities asking them to amend their bylaws to permit homeless people to overnight in parks.

Council endorsed the suggestion from Coun. Geoff Young, who said Victoria appears to be the lone municipality in the region to reference camping in its parks bylaw.

Young said core municipalities such as Victoria and Vancouver are “political orphans.”

“Other levels of government are content for us to accept these social burdens and allow them to be ignored by others,” he said.

Council has directed staff to conduct a legal review of the city’s parks bylaw in light of a recent B.C. Supreme Court decision regarding homeless people camping in Abbotsford parks.

In finding last month that Abbotsford’s bylaws prohibiting camping in parks are unconstitutional, Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson ruled that homeless people can erect shelters in public spaces and parks from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Victoria’s parks bylaw allows camping from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., and from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. when daylight time is in effect.

Young said despite wakeups conducted by city bylaw officers and police, it is often 11 a.m. or noon before homeless camps are moved from parks.

“Our bylaw says 7 [a.m.] and the judge has said 9 [a.m.]. What have the other municipalities done to adjust their bylaws?”

But it appears any change in other municipalities could be met with resistance.

“Yeah, we’re not going to do that,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young, adding that most complaints he receives are about people camping in green spaces that are not necessarily formal parks.

He said Langford doesn’t have the staff to police such a bylaw.

Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell said in an email that such a proposal would likely be met with significant resistance and spark “vigorous debate” among residents and the 18 community associations as to which parks would be suitable.

Atwell said Saanich is dealing with a number of permanent camps set up “off trail” in Cuthbert Holmes Park, near Tillicum Centre — a situation that is being monitored by Saanich police and the Saanich parks department.

In Esquimalt, Mayor Barb Desjardins worried that changes to the hours camping is allowed in Victoria parks could affect her municipality, given that the two share a police force.

“I have a concern because we have a joint police force. How is this going to affect our police resource?” she said. “So when they send the letter, we’ll certainly have some discussion on how to respond to it.”

In their discussion, Victoria councillors agreed with Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe that the staff review should also consider the rights of other park users.

She noted the Abbotsford decision, in part, found “a sustained occupation of a single location by a homeless encampment creates conditions that are unsafe to the homeless persons, municipal staff and residents.”

Thornton-Joe said council has to find a balance between all park users — including “families who live nearby and children who want to use the parks and the people who want to feel safe as they cut through the parks.”

Coun. Ben Isitt disagreed. He said the review should focus specifically on the rights of those seeking shelter in parks.

“I don’t believe the courts have actually found that there’s a right of a resident to use a park,” Isitt said. “I think access to green space is essential and I think municipalities do balance those rights.”

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