Harm Reduction Model Critical.

There has been many passionate discussions at the get go starting Monday regarding “dry / clean and sober” code of conduct’s that are used in a Eugene Oregon Micro Housing Community/Village.  Our working group so far has consensed upon the idea of a harm reduction model being used in the code of conduct.  Here are my beliefs and why:

To be clear, much of how Eugene and Portland run their villages will be used here, as it is so amasing!.

The fact is, we have learned a great deal about harm reduction as a treatment model, Dr. Gabor Matte, as well as many other doctors and users themselves, have helped educate the masses.  For me in Victoria, we at Sandy Merriman House (I was one of eight original staff hired at SMH: A woman’s emergency shelter renovated by women for women, we had to form policy in one week, we did it!)  A year after the doors opened Janet Rabinovitch, the woman who organized the project from the streets, her and I got together and she asked  me a queery about the building project in which women who were homeless did major renovations of the house over a year, worked with tradeswomen and some men and learned a great deal.  The model was a “clean and sober” model. ie: if you drank or used you had to leave.  Sandy Merriman died of an accidental overdose during the project, she is highlighted in the video made about Sandy Merriman House, she shines in this documentary.  Her tragic death inspired the naming of SMH, its shared in the film.

I was told by her many friends as well as her widow Pam, that she was a dynamic person who loved people, sadly, she struggled at a period and, due to the pressure of losing her spot in the program, she kept it to herself.  I respect that Janet asked me “Kym, do you think that, if we had a harm reduction model, Sandy might still be alive?”  We both had to agree, she might still be alive if she felt she could talk about her use openly with out fear of losing her position in the project.

We both swore  to advocate for harm reduction models and, here I am about to be homeless again, hoping to be one of many homeless who have an opportunity to co build our home alongside others as we did for thousands of years, what an opportunity for community building!

I can feel the success of this project, taste it on my tongue.  I want community, I do not need  more authority, I do not need a manager, I need my village.

After Sandy Merriman’s death, Pam and others  buried her boots in the cement below the stairs, makes me tear up every time I think of her, her boots and the love that flowed between the women of Sandy Merriman House.  I never met Sandy and only met a few women who did the renovating, I’d meet them over the few years I worked there; as they came back to use services, they’d share their stories of building, show me spots they worked on, walls they helped put back up.  They had a sense of ownership.

I share these stories as, so far there seems to be consensus that we are not punitive nor judgmental, that we will work with people if they fall and try and help them right back up. We will have equity thus involvement and a sense of shared responsibility.

This project may be reflecting our growth as a community from one that is authoritarian punitive based to one that is about equity, we all are people, we all have a place in production and have a right to dignity.

I am pleased that housed and un-housed have been speaking out about why we need Solidarity Village to be a harm reduction model; from how we treat this earth, other animals and how we treat ourselves and each other, non violence and open direct democracy will bring more of a sense of pride and care for our home.

Our intention on this working group is to co-create a community contract,  the heart of which will be based upon the principles of harm reduction, non violent conflict resolution as well as trainings on our rights and responsibilities. We are in contact with  potential non profits who may mentor us as we form our own non profit over this next year.

I am about to be homeless, it broke my heart.  I saw the eviction notice on my way to hospital to deal with my lung lesion and the infection around it. I am tired of trying to find home, I cannot afford most.  Many buildings I cannot even live in due to my environmental sensitivities, I have fallen thru the cracks a lot.

Myself and quite a few others are already on the list to be a resident in Solidarity Village.

I am on the slowest computer at the hospital, and am grateful for your time and patience.  I’ll be home tomorrow, Bobby and I will be organizing the sign up sheets preparing for Tuesdays Organizing meeting, 7pm, Hoggarts Park on Chambers, 2 blocks  west of Pandora.

kym hothead hines

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Micro Housing Community’s Working Group Forms.

“Hi everybody, its been awhile as I have been in hospital healing from pneumonia and a lesion in lower right lung.  Still in hospital now and, they are letting me out on day passes for all three Micro Housing Event’s.

Since Bobby Arbess approached me with this brilliant idea to bring MARK LAKEMAN: (Dignity Village, Portland, OR) and ANDREW HEBEN: (OppurtUNITY ,Village, Eugene, OR) to Victoria, I immediately saw the potential for community building, that we can have Harm Reduction for our homeless crisis, create a base from which we can move forward as community and together demand funding for social housing @ 30% of income.  Please go to Social Housing Alliance website for details on the movement for Social Housing! ( http://www.socialhousingbc.com/ )

Bobby and I went to a CTEHV meeting and he pitched the idea, here we are now!  WOW!  I was thrilled that Bobby took on this community building work with such passion to bring harm reduction to those of us struggling, some of us all our lives,  for home!  He is a powerful example of passionate solidarity, what an ally! This passion seems to be catching on and its growing, we have more and more ally’s who are committing to this work.

We have formed a Micro Housing Community Working Group off of the CTEHV, and I am happy with this growing support.  You’ll meet us tonight with “Working Group CTEHV” name tags!

This working group has the passion and the full intention to carry this one year pilot project thru; to build solidarity and co create with equity and thus, the empowerment of both housed and un-housed, working hand in hand and being able to feel proud of what we birth: Solidarity Village within Lkwungen and WASANEC Territories.  Thanks to Bobby for coming up with the great name!

Bobby created a slide show of Mark and Andrew’s community based work, there are so many people involved, I would not know where to start but, suffice it to say, community’s are building around “Micro Housing Community’s” all over!

We would not have gotten so far without our progressive “community builder” and forward looking Mayor Lisa HelpsWe are grateful for all the support from City Councilors to which I want to give special mention to Marianne Alto with her seemingly unending support and Ben Isitt for helping, thank you!

Ironically, myself and my roommates got an eviction notice, landlords want to move in.  I’ll be homeless again and, just the thought of moving again, has been overwhelming.  I figured I’d be in social housing by now, 11 years on disability with a chronic illness and, hardly NO Social Housing has been built, definitely not any at 30% of income.

Homeless again, in hospital for pneumonia/lesion in lower right lung due to a tooth infection getting down my throat and into lung, probably last fall.

I was considering for over a year “Is micro housing community the only answer for me and others who otherwise wait powerless as NO HOMES ARE BUILT?”  I have decided indeed, it is the the only solution for myself and many others who need home.  So, I decided to go for it.  My name is on the list, I will be front and center to help build a home for me and my daughter.

:)

I am serious!  I co-parent and, since I cannot have my daughter 51% of time, I get no support as a disability recipient.  That is divide and rule at its ugliest, punishing one parent, there is no 50-50 ever as far as Government and parents splitting up!  I am only eligible for bachelors and most are in buildings that are either run down, not safe and often stink from molds and mildews.  I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, the idea of a tiny home anad fresh air appeals to me and many others who are homeless.

These buildings need to be torn down and passive houses go up in their places and I highly encourage the City of Victoria to help take down slum houses.  That is another blog story…

For now, I look forward to moving forward with other members of the CTEHV’s Working Group on Micro Housing, they are: Bobby Arbess (and his son Mischa who is on poster team with Rene McBeth), Kym Hothead Hines, Stephanie Lovatt, Debie O’Connell, Trudy Norman and media help Alison Acker.  We are growing. 

We are meeting with non profit society’s who are showing interest in possibly mentoring  us over the one year pilot project.  We are so excited to be joined by builders/developers, other un-housed, as well as housed community members who will move forward painstakingly if need be, in solidarity and under a non oppressive equitable “failure forward” team model!

We already have a ground swell of support which seems to be growing, talk about purrfect timing, it almost brings me to tears.

I am grateful, even sitting here in hospital, future uncertain but now, just the idea that my daughter and I may have a home soon that I co-create with community members, brings hope to my broken heart.

respect and looking forward, we heal together.

kym hothead hines

“thawVictoria” on youtube

“Transform Homelessness Advocacy Watch” on VIMEO to watch our feature film and shorts.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hundreds flee Northern Ontario First Nation amid flood threat

Originally posted on Warrior Publications:

by CTV News, April 23, 2015

The threat of flooding is once again forcing the residents of a remote Northern Ontario First Nation to flee their homes.

Hundreds of vulnerable Kashechewan residents have already registered with the Red Cross in Kapuskasing, Ont. The rising Albany River is threatening to flood the First Nation for the fourth consecutive year.

One of the evacuees, Gary Wesley, told CTV Northern Ontario that he’s coping with the situation, but it’s “difficult” for others.

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Wave of threats prompts creation of Edmonton counterterrorism unit

ctehv:

they ask this: “The officer-in-charge of Alberta’s INSET team put out a call on Wednesday, asking Albertans to notify authorities when they see signs of radicalization in friends or family. “Making the call might be difficult, but not as hard as dealing with what might happen if you don’t pick up the phone,” wrote Insp. John Baranyi, warning that individuals might engage in violence if authorities aren’t notified.”
From what I see, the RCMP then MOVE IN and engage in violence by trying to ENCOURAGE hurting confused angry lost people and actully encourage a terrorist event then blame the victim/’s of society which are hurting!! We got so much work to do in supporting our own communities to empower and rise the hecka UP!
respect.

Originally posted on Warrior Publications:

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Micro Housing Events @ City of Victoria and 1st Metropolitan Church!

Emerald Village poster reduced

MICRO-HOUSING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT….

A possible solution to homelessness

in Lekwungen & W̱SÁNEĆ  Territories aka Victoria

CTEHV, VIPIRG & THE CITY OF VICTORIA BRING YOU:

MARK LAKEMAN: (Dignity Village, Portland, OR)

ANDREW HEBEN: (OppurtUNITY ,Village, Eugene, OR)

Public Presentation:

Monday, May 11th 7:30pm @ City Hall Antechamber

Technical Workshop:

Tuesday, May 12th 11am @ City Hall

(For City staff, Developers, Builders, Council Members, Housing Providers, Unhoused, Allies)

UNHOUSED & ALLIES

Organizing Workshop:

Tuesday, May 12th 2pm – 4pm  1st Metropolitan United Church, 932 Balmoral Rd.

Join Mark Lakeman (world- renowned sustainable cities architect, Dignity Village, City Repair) and Andrew Heben, social planner/builder OpportUNITY Village, Eugene, Oregon:

for 2 days of events opening up a local conversation about ‘best practises’ in affordable housing design in the Pacific Northwest and micro-housing community development as one possible answer to the problem of chronic homelessness and proven alternative to conventional approaches to social housing.

Mark and Andrew have years of working directly in solidarity with homeless communities to create successful low-cost/impact, democratically-managed, clean and sober, peer support villages, typically built on public land in collaboration between the housed and the unhoused.

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Micro-Housing Community Development…

Poster M-H

micorhousingEmerald Village poster reduced

Micro-Housing Community Development…

…a possible solution to homelessness in the City of Victoria.

Public Presentation:

May 11th, 7:30pm, City Hall Antechamber
(Everyone welcome!)

Workshop:

May 12th, City Hall, 11am- 12:30pm
(For City staff, developers, builders, Council members, housing providers, unhoused and allies.)

Join Mark Lakeman (world- renowned sustainable cities architect, Dignity Village, City Repair) and Andrew Heben, social planner/builder OpportUNITY Village, Eugene, Oregon: for 2 days of events opening up a local conversation about ‘best practises’ in affordable housing design in the Pacific Northwest and micro-housing community development as one possible answer to the problem of chronic homelessness and proven alternative to conventional approaches to social housing.

Mark and Andrew have years of working directly in solidarity with homeless communities to create successful low-cost/impact, democratically-managed, clean and sober, peer support villages, typically built on public land in collaboration between the housed and the unhoused.

Cosponsored by CTEHV, VIPIRG and City of Victoria.

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Families of missing and murdered indigenous women give police a failing grade

Originally posted on Warrior Publications:

Missing Murdered Women photosCBC probes 230 unsolved cases, interviews 110 families

CBC News, April 8, 2015

Police departments across Canada get a failing grade for their efforts at solving cases of missing and murdered indigenous women, according to CBC interviews with more than 110 family members.

CBC News has embarked on an exhaustive search for families who have lost a relative either to an unsolved killing or whose loved one still remains missing.

So far, more than 110 families have responded to questions ranging from the efficacy of police investigations to the need for a national inquiry.

Families were asked to rate the quality of the police investigation in each case, on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being excellent. The average rating was 2.8.

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