The Right To Sleep. Open Letter to City of Victoria.

I a settler Acadian Metis visitor within Lkwungen WSANEC territories.
Open Letter to City of Victoria Mayor, council and staff:
I want to first thank the current Mayor Lisa Helps, all of City Council and City of Victoria staff for everything they have done to help move forward the work of Micro Housing and Mini Tent Cities.  Thank you for listening and guiding with ongoing support.
Our steering committee for the micro housing is moving ahead with non profit status and we are grateful for City support we have received, I have never experienced this in all my years.  To see housed citizens including those with lived experience of homelessness as well as current homeless come together with so many professionals and sort this out, it’s been a joy.
Lisa,
I’d to do some follow up re: the issue of homeless living in their vehicles and how together we came up with some great ideas that we at CTEHV have not been able to follow up on just yet.  Here are some ideas I’d love some feedback on:
– I wonder what exactly we need to do to have use of the City of Victoria parkade at Centennial Square for overnight parking, as was suggested by you back when CTEHV first brought this to your attention at a friday meet up.   CETHV has not followed up till now, thanks for your patience.
-Maybe the CTEHV could bottom line the design of a logo for a parking sticker for “Homeless Vehicle Dwellers” ( HVD) so that they:
*do not have to pay for parking when using services where paid parking is in issue, within maximum time given any citizen to park in one spot for?
*so that they can park overnight where it is safe for them if the City Parkade is not suitable.
Do you think we can get some guidelines from City of Victoria for such an idea?   We all still have to follow laws of noise etc, so, we do not need to create laws, just guidelines.
I thought I’d also clear up a few things for folks regarding Tent Cities, Micro Housing and Social Housing:
I am under the assumption here in Lkwungen WSANEC Territories aka: Victoria that:
– folks who are homeless are allowed by law here in Victoria to camp from 7pm to 7am in parks.
– we have folks, for their own reasons, who tent close to services and with their family/buddies. This is about community and safety for them, and, given many folks who have many health issues, this “right to sleep” bylaw suits them fine.
For some homeless, the sites City of Victoria picked will not work for all of them for some of the reasons I already stated.
These are folks who are often in a couple and have chosen family members who stick together. Outreach teams such as 713 can do outreach to them as needed, some have Reverend Allen Tysick with Dandelion society, still others do not want to go to shelters for many reasons, see photo of reasons in my sandwich board with facts from Social Housing Alliance (http://www.socialhousingbc.com/) and, also see Right To Housing at: http://righttohousing.ca/
– even though we work hard for Micro Housing Village/’s, we must know there will still be homeless who will not want to or be able to be a part of it for varying reasons. Many for reasons of health and working jobs need Social Housing which is affordable and at 30% of income.
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To paraphrase:
Many want to know that our homeless family members will have support in the right to sleep tenting bylaw and; to not get jacked up by police and by law enforcement.
If they leave a mess, they will of course have to deal with the consequences, but, not all homeless will have to deal with consequences of one person’s actions.  Each person has the right to dignity, and a right to a warning.
City of Victoria has suggested sites for Mini Tent Cities, and Micro Housing Village/’s this does not mean that homeless folks will NOT be able to be elsewhere when appropriate and following existing bylaws.
Tourist’s are not considered homeless. Big Difference.
Also
In ending, I wanted to share some of a conversation I had with a homeless first nations who choose “anonymous”;
Paraphrased:
No matter what happens, this work you folks have done has helped the greater community know more about the anti poverty movement.  That City Hall talk on Micro Housing was cool, especially I liked that Mark guy.  You and others have made statements about the need for unity, look at the impact of that already.  That you have all come together across so much difference this past few months has had a great impact locally. Many of us know it’s really depressing, we have lost a lot of family members to homelessness and poverty.
If anything, this has boosted a lot of people’s vision and sense of hope, it’s brought to light areas which need our attention if we are to move forward, showing us all how much work is needed  re: First Nations and decolonisation, learning about anti discrimination, anti stigma , and anti oppression.
‘Many of us don’t want shelters, many of you still lacking in communication and relations with local first nations communities whose territories you are all visitors in.”
“anonymous”.
Thanks for the great conversation!  I really respect your honesty.
I want to thank folks for their patience and support regarding my own ill health of late, I do actually feel like I am beginning to get back to my normal. I was told by a health practitioner that, given the pneumonia/leisen it’s no wonder I am in a fibromyalgia eruption (new term for me) it’s why I have been under a lot of fibro fog / mental duress.  That and the intense reaction to antibiotics gave me thrush, which I was told will slowly clear over this next three weeks.  I practice patience and continue to seek affordable housing for my daughter and I.
That’s it folks,
respect,
kym a hines
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Sixties Scoop victims demand apology, compensation

Originally posted on Warrior Publications:

Wayne Snellgrove, centre, with his adoptive family. Snellgrove was one of thousands of aboriginal kids forced from their homes and adopted into mostly non-Native families during the 1960s to 80s. (Submitted by Wayne Snellgrove) Wayne Snellgrove, centre, with his adoptive family. Snellgrove was one of thousands of aboriginal kids forced from their homes and adopted into mostly non-Native families during the 1960s to 80s. (Submitted by Wayne Snellgrove)

Some estimate more than 20,000 aboriginal kids adopted by mostly non-native families

CBC News, June 18, 2015

Aboriginal adoptees forced from their families by the Canadian government in the Sixties Scoop are expected to receive what is believed to be the first public government apology on Thursday.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger is set to deliver the apology, which the province has been working on for months alongside affected adoptees.

The Sixties Scoop is the name given to the period of time between the 1960s and ’80s when thousands of aboriginal children were placed with mostly non-native adoptive families.

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Meeting With Carol James.

Good day folks!  Hope this post finds you all in good health and spirits.

I asked Micro Housing Steering Committee members Solomon Lindsay and Graeme Bristol to join me this am and meet with Carol James.   Here is a photo of Pete who I met up with at Our Place.  We have chatted off and on over this last year.  He has joined our Steering Committee today, I love his energy and ideas, he is wanting to be involved and I am happy he has joined us.  You’ll see him at the next meeting and, he loves the idea of us meeting at FNB tree, let me know when those meetings start up, I may be able to join you again by then!  I am still taking my health break and yet, still able to enjoy this outreach work for now.

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He and I and Michelle had a great chat at Our Place regarding the housing crisis many are in.  Managers are still using police to evict tenants and that needs some attention.  We all praised TAPS for their ongoing work regarding View Towers and wonder what the heck is going on there re: occupancy rates so high and homeless numbers on rise?  Gentrification gone real bad!

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That’s Pete, Solomon, me kym hothead, Carol and Graeme.  I could not decide which photo was the best so I used both!

We had a great meeting and I opened by bringing up the need for a National Housing Strategy to be drafted by the NDP well before the election.  We asked for her help in this endeavor and she is definitely wanting to help.  She stated she will meet with Murray Rankin and David Eby in regards to what we brought forward.  Our CTEHV will be having Murray Rankin come once again soon and I look forward to that meeting as well.

She also had just come from a meeting with Marianne Alto, we are all really busy and active and listening to all sides, trying very much to calm the alarm bells of fear…

We also need to meet up with NDP housing person: David Eby and ask him to lead in getting this much needed National Housing Strategy written and that it must include social housing getting built at 30% of income.  We the people will be getting out there and help educate the public regarding this housing crisis and what is needed.  We need 10 thousand built each year to begin to deal, that is a lot of jobs folks, let’s get on that one!
Please join us when we post our schedule for Leafleting and Stands For Social Housing. After all,  an election is coming and Carol as well as others agree: the time is NOW for action.

I shared with her the Diverse Social Housing Proposal I have been bottom lining and how I will be hosting a panel in Montreal in November for The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness conference entitled:

Thinking outside the box: alternative and self-managed housing solutions.

Some research cites problems with mainstream rental housing including distance from services, isolation from previous networks of informal support, inadequate housing conditions, difficulties in “fitting into” mainstream expectations of housing, and problematic relationships with private market landlords—as key reasons for returns to homelessness for some participants in Housing First programs.”   I hope to keep costs down by bringing the presentation Mark Lakeman did (However, I have invited him cause, ya never know, would be great to have him there!) and have mostly lived experience who are living it now alongside other lived experience like myself share in why Tent Cities, Micro Housing and other alternatives can help save lives, build a community which can lobby government and get our needs met.

For me, this is Harm Reduction for homeless while the housing strategy gets written.   Many folks fall thru the cracks and this is where tent cities and micro housing villages can help.

Solomon Lindsay is a Vic High student and he shared his interest in architecture and is involving his school to help build micro housing homes, he is currently an active steering committee member.  He shared a lot and I look forward to what the students will come up with, I guess Carol helped start that program at VIC High!

Graeme Bristol shared his experience as an architect and how this project is one he is happy to be involved in, shared how the tenants themselves are a big part of how the homes will be built, how we are currently creating a non profit and are determined to help insure self governance with much community support to do so.  He and other architects as well as homeless who are on steering Committee like Tony have been going to Agencies and presenting and listening to homeless and gleaning what they want.  I was able to attend 2 presentations at Our Place and enjoyed them a lot!

Pete is currently homeless and was very keen on this project and will gladly be involved in meetings as well as Stands For Social Housing!  He and I spoke of leafleting outside of Our Place and Rock Bay Landing to reach out to homeless as well as housed.

He shared a tragic story with Solomon as we left together of a homeless man who stabed himself to death. He suffered greatly and was staying at the Rock Bay Landing shelter. This allegedly occurred about 4 months ago, such a tragedy and adds to the passion we all share on why Social Housing is critical, that any Harm Reduction is needed NOW.

I want to thank everyone who is helping with this project, we all have a role in production and what better time than now to relieve the pain and suffering of our homeless family members, which is absolutely unnecessary!

If not now, when?

In solidarity,

kym hothead hines

VIMEO: Transform Homelessness Advocacy WAtch for feature Taking The Fall and Rising, and short film Speakers Corner Booth.

youtube: thawvictoria

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“Right To Housing” Campaign!

Please go to:https://righttohousing.wordpress.com/author/righttohousing/

We might be too late for June 17th action, but more is coming!  Lets support this in Lkwungen WSANEC Territory, I think CTEHV needs to sign on asap!

:)

Contact your MP and candidates on June 17th: Vote Housing For All!

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Join our collective voices across Canada on June 17th to call for the right to housing!

We have an affordable housing and homelessness crisis in Canada and the government is doing little to fix it.

On Wednesday, June 17th, groups across Canada will be holding different events and actions in their communities to say that we will vote housing for all! Send a strong message to all political parties for the upcoming federal elections that we want to see a commitment to housing as a human right.

Will you stand up and join this national day of action?
Call, visit or email your MP and election candidates on June 17th and tell them you will vote housing for all, and share with them our collective message!
Find your local MP’s contact information by entering your postal code here.
Contact political party leaders here.
Use this hashtag on social media: #VoteHousing4All

We invite you to take part and share our collective message:

  1. We want a national housing strategy now:

A national housing strategy is required to reduce and eventually end homelessness in Canada.

In Canada, we have 150,000 to 300,000 people who are visibly homeless, plus 450,000 to 900,000 people who are among the “hidden homeless.”

In 2009, Miloon Kothari, the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, called the housing and homelessness crisis in Canada a “national emergency.” Yet, Canada remains the only G8 nation in the world without a national housing strategy, and the federal government continues to cut funding to housing and homelessness programs.

We are calling for the government to ensure that everyone has adequate housing by adopting a national housing strategy, and that this strategy must be developed in consultation with groups across Canada.

  1. We want to see a re-investment in affordable housing:

We already have a housing and homelessness crisis but it may soon get even worse.

Social housing is the safety net that houses those who might otherwise risk homelessness. In Canada, 365,000 low income households are at risk of losing their homes because the Federal government refuses to renew subsidies for social housing.

Meanwhile, the waiting list for social housing continues to grow: there are over 168,000 households on the waiting list in Ontario alone. Without federal government support, many providers of social housing will have to raise rents to market levels or sell their affordable units to make ends meet. Tenants who can’t pay the higher price will face economic eviction.

(this one is critical for me, kym hothead)

We are calling for the government to re-invest in social housing by renewing the federal subsidies, and to dedicate adequate funding to building new affordable housing.

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Steering Committee For Solidarity Village: Presentations.

Here are some photo’s of one of our presentations at Our Place with 7 of our Solidarity Village steering committee members present including Graeme, Solomon, Hilary, Todd, Susan, Rene and myself.

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We have had much engagement and a lot of community support, many more homeless folks went to the the other 2 Our Place presentations.  Hilary and Todd and Katrina, Rene also presented at Rock Bay landing.  We have plans to go to Sandy Merriman House as well as others, Hilary will be organising and postering for events.

Our sign up sheets show a whole LOT of support.

More on this coming soon, we are swamped and moving forward.

Word on the street has it that some think we are paying “lip service” and that this micro housing village will probably not happen, well, I can tell you that many are working night and day to help relieve the burden experienced by our homeless family members.  Many who, like me, have been trying desperately to pressure federal and provincial governments to help with housing, Social Housing which is 30% of income to no avail, for me and others, we need home in order to have someplace to work from so that we can fight for Social Housing Now for the over 160.000 desperately without permanent homes in BC alone.

Many more locally want their own version of home, we need to fight for US ALL!

UNITY!

See Social Housing Alliance for deets at:  http://www.socialhousingbc.com/

Here we are, working for harm reduction in the form of self governing / harm reduction modeled transitional micro housing.  In Eugene around 30% of people end up staying because its what they want.  The end up becoming mentors to help others who often, when given the chance, transition from homelessness to finding apartments.

It is my hope that from this ground we can begin a mass mobilisation of poor who are empowered to lead in our own housing.  Why not?

Who but ourselves will insure we have a safe space?  I am not interested in charity, I am not interested in ego’s running around acting as if they are the poor’s only hope!

We ourselves are the ones who must lead, take responsibility and thus become guardians of a piece of land in which we work alongside with supportive allies to co-create what we envision as community members.

I want to thank the hard working folks who continue in this venture and I know will see it thru to building Solidarity Village.

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Another Community Home Evicted.

I am a visitor under duress within Lkwungen WSANEC territories.

{FYI: I have had a file with BC Housing for 10 years.  I have gone to other housing site offices and got signed up and have to go regularly to update file, I am once again doing that now, one needs to do so every 4 months average.  Think of that for ten years.  NO social housing has been built, anything significant, for well over 20 years.  The feds off loaded to provinces and BC has done almost NONE!  Anything that has been built is never enuff, we are dealing with a system that legislates poverty, we have work to do and move forward.}

Our current landlord needs to have family move in.  We got evicted and have till the end of August, I hope to get a one bedroom for daughter and I. Since I only have her 40% of the time, I am punished and get no government assistance, BUT, I may get a one bedroom from Pacifica Housing.  I am not eligible for their family units as the govt does not support parents who have child 49% or less.

“Crack faller” as I said in previous blog post.

This home on wheels also just moved into our front yard parking lot:

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Its kind of what I am looking for, so, its good to know two elder folks bought such a beauty in 2010, went on one trip and sold it to my landlord for a mere 41. thousand.

I guess there is hope for me and daughter yet.

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Seriously, I am sure there are others who did the same, want to sell and would allow me to pay them monthly payments which I would sign a binding contract to pay them till it was paid off.  I must come up with such ideas, no one else can do this, I need to put myself out there and this is a possibility.

I already went to BC Housing and updated my file, nothing is coming up, someone has to die.  That is a sad reality.

I went to both Pacifica Housing offices, one office was closed, that was the Outreach Office on Cormorant.  I had to explain to staff in family office why I am only eligible for a single room as a single parent.   Bachelors are not good now that my daughter is 11 and is big enough to need her own room.  I am fine with her having the bedroom and me make my bedroom out of living room.  I have lived that way before and it would be grand.

I also bought a lotto ticket, sorry if I repeat myself, I have a glitch in wordpress?

In the window of Cormorant Outreach Office was the Fentanyl warning, we sure are ready for that Safe Consumption Site, check out this very important, top and bottom photo’s:

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I do know I am taking care of my ill health and that means I decided No More Meetings. I trust others to move ahead and I will keep being me so, no worries there.  I’ll be representing for Social Housing to be built at 30% of income, and along the theme of Harm Reduction; Micro-Housing and Mini Tent cities to help ease the horrible suffering of the well over 160,000 thousand in need of social housing in BC alone.

We are ready for change and unity in Lkwungen WSANEC territories aka Victoria, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Vic West, Saanich etc….

kym a. hines aka: hothead

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Welfare Rates are Tough all Over, by Phoenix Winter

As printed in
The Volcano, Summer 2015   (http://thevolcano.org./)
At a meeting in early May, some MLAs from the NDP told a group of Vancouver activists that low welfare rates are a problem only for those in the Downtown Eastside (DTES).  Raise the Rates attended the session at the Legislature in Victoria, and even some of the MLAs told stories of how some of their constituents, from outside the DTES, also struggled on welfare.
Stats from the Ministry of Social Development show that low welfare rates affect people right across the province.  In March 2015, the total of those of welfare and disability was 176,911, and that makes up 3% of BC’s total population. Those stats affect children as well.  There was a total of 33,319 dependent children.
And the proportion of those in the DTES is small, but significant.  “Out of more than 170,000 on disability or welfare in BC, less than 7,000 are in the DTES”, says Fraser Stuart of Raise the Rates.  The MLAs seemed to think that the vocal call for higher rates only came from there.
But Kim “Hothead” Hines, an activist in Victoria, says, “It is near impossible to find a home when you are on welfare or disability…Rates are too low and rents are too high.”  He links the struggle with the need to get more social housing.
He talks about the importance of community.  “Many of us fall thru the cracks and no one but us will help us get up out of them, fill them with dirt and shit and grow some community.”
By Phoenix Winter
(Phoenix is woman on right, she was here for the Social Housing Now rally in Victoria which her and others initiated!
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