I am a visitor in Lkwungen WSANEC Territories.
I know I often speak of realities most of us would rather not have to even think about yet, here we are, peaceful warriors uniting across difference to bring relief from so much unnecessary pain and visioning thru action our possible futures.
Tonight we present Micro-Housing Communities to our homeless family and welcome allies..
I want to thank our CTEHV, VIPIRG, SOLID and especially Bobby Arbess
for his time in creating this power point presentation we get to enjoy tonight at:
Downtown Community Ctr-755 Pandora 6pm, see call out below.
Here is the announcement we’ve been putting out there on streets as well as faith and other ally communities.
Street Community Action Dinner
Open to everyone who~ Is homeless; Uses places that serve Victoria’s street community; Is housed, wants to bare witness at this meeting and be an ally to a possible Solidarity Village
Topic: Micro-Housing Community
Bobby Arbess of the CTEHV:
“Put a bunch of tiny, tasteful, low-cost homes into an autonomous tent village-like setting, for the homeless, governed by its members with the support of their allies and you get micro-housing communities for our homeless. Can we do this here?”
Homeless and our allies are invited to join a working group to make a “Micro-Housing Village ” Pilot Project for the Homeless happen in Victoria. Nothing About Us Without Us.
Kym Hothead from CTEHV will give updates from CTEHV’s working group on developing a Diverse Social Housing Proposal including Tent City plans.
Hot Meal Provided. If you are housed and able, bring a dish to share potluck style.
6pm Thursday March 26th
Downtown Community Ctr-755 Pandora
Committee To End Homelessness Victoria, SOLID, Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group
Here too is Bobby’s written piece that I and Stefanie from VIPIRG read out at City Hall’s Town Hall on Budget and Strategic Plan.:
I am a visitor in Lkwungen Territory.
Proposal for a Provisional City Fund
for a Micro-housing Community for the Homeless, Pilot Project for the City of Victoria
Presented by: The Committee to End Homelessness, Victoria.
The Committee to End Homelessness recognizes that diverse approaches are needed to provide housing to the diverse community of people who, for many different reasons and life circumstances, find themselves homeless in the City of Victoria. The growing gap between the rising cost of housing and people’s access to financial resources is a problem for a growing percentage of the Victoria population, with Victoria being amongst the most expensive cities in which to live. Our most vulnerable citizens, those struggling with addictions and mental health issues, those living with physical and mental challenges, young people unable to access employment, seniors, urban First Nations and single parent families are amongst the most heavily affected by poverty and the lack of affordable housing.
As municipalities continue to experience the crunch from decades of funding cuts from provincial and federal governments who have been slowly dismantling the welfare state in favor of policies that provide ‘corporate welfare’, rather than helping the poor and the growing ranks of the marginalized, municipalities must make wiser choices of how to utilize dwindling public resources. It is clearly cheaper and more ethically appropriate for society to house the homeless than police them on the streets. It is estimated that 75% of the Victoria annual $35 million police budget is spent in managing the segment of Victoria’s homeless population that is suffering from mental health and addiction issues. Homelessness only exacerbates these problems and it is time for our City Council to invest in adequate housing and harm reductions supports and services that will allow people to recover and rebuild their lives. Policing alone cannot achieve these goals and it a waste of public resources to continue funding growing police budgets at the expense of affordable housing and harm reduction.
Micro-housing Villages for the Homeless:
The Committee to End Homelessness is interested in exploring the viability of micro-housing village communities for the homeless, a low-cost, grassroots community solution to building semi-self-managed affordable housing that is emerging in the U.S where lack of welfare state supports for the poor, has led to more effective grassroots community organizing, resourcefulness and creativity in housing the homeless.
Micro-housing villages for the homeless are an interesting hybrid of the tent city movement of democratically-operated encampments of homeless people that go back to the Depression era AND a new trend in sustainable housing design favoring tiny houses, that allow people to live more materially simple lives, with less “stuff”‘ and with less of an ecological footprint on the planet.
Micro-housing is a low-cost solution to homelessness with the average unit for a single person at about 1/13th the building costs of a conventional low-income apartment unit. These tiny dwellings often assembled from modular prefab panels can be built with a team of volunteers, housed and unhoused, working together, in 4 hours, per unit. A hundred square foot space, has enough room to fit a loft bed, desk, closet, counter space, shelving, storage, small couch and could have lots of windows, a small porch, for $3500 before heating an electrical and lend themselves nicely to solar power installation. Low impact, affordable housing design is provided within a supportive village environment, managed by its residents with the helpful oversight of the partner non-profit organization, to provide both transitional and permanent housing.
To ensure the safety of its residents and a healthy, supportive village environment, residents commit themselves to a non-violence code of conduct and strong community agreements against the use of drugs and alcohol, theft and actions that harm themselves or one another. Residents carry out weekly volunteer duties to maintain a clean and healthy environment. There is a communal kitchen, shared bathroom facilities, meeting and recreational spaces and self-help programs including nutritional counseling, skills training and income-generating initiatives that empower residents to rebuild their lives.
There are now ten communities across the Pacific Northwest that have some form of successfully operating micro-housing communities for the homeless. One shining example is OpportUNITY Village in Eugene Oregon, where thirty tiny, tastefully-designed approximately 100 sq, ft. houses were built on city-leased property, in the tradition of a village barn-raiser, with the housed and the unhoused members of the community, working together.
Members of the Committee to End Homelessness Victoria are inspired by the wisdom, creativity and pragmatism of the tiny home village model. . We envision a local pilot project: Solidarity Village, to be built with the support of both public and private funding, providing transitional -semi-permanent supported housing for homeless residents in Victoria, B.C.
If there is sufficient support from our local City council, it is possible that a non-profit society dedicated to developing micro-housing villages for the homeless could start-up in Victoria, mentored at first by an existing housing provider and then generating capacity to manage these projects with the co-operation of its members, housed and unhoused working together, to provide supportive housing solutions to those who are ready and who would choose this option for themselves. It cannot be overstated the extent to which a safe, warm, dry home of one’s own, in a caring, supportive community—to someone who has had neither– can be a big leg-up in a person’s life.
We are excited that our local community with the lively interest of our Mayor and many council members, is entering a conversation about tiny house villages as one in a diverse number approaches to addressing homelessness in our community.
AS you know, on May 11th and 12th, the Committee to End Homelessness and the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group will be hosting two speakers, Andrew Lakeman, a world-renowned community design architect and organizer in the Portland Tent city-come- micro-housing community, Dignity Village and Andrew Heben, founder of OpportUnity Village, two pioneers of this progressive and exciting movement.
From this conversation with them, we are hoping to move in the direction of the development of Canada’s first micro-housing village for the homeless.
Members of the Committee to End Homelessness Victoria take the position that micro-housing may be an extremely wise investment of the City of Victoria into perhaps the most cost-effective social housing investment around. Therefore, we are requesting that the City of Victoria set aside a provisional start-up fund of $500, 000 for a micro-housing village pilot project on a piece of designated city property, in the City of Victoria. We consider this a worthy investment, from the City’s 4.5 million surplus, into the lives of some of the most marginalized members of our community.
Committee to End Homelessness Victoria