I am a visitor in Lkwungen WSANEC territories.

CRD, The Police State And Me.

The CRD is pushing for scavenging bylaws to be enforced. Why we even have them in the first place just proves the lack of a common sense which came with it a community based security culture, which, brought us through Ice Ages and more.

It is an attack on people who scavenge for recyclable bottles and cans, like me, instead of selling drugs or becoming a thief. There are very few options in this so called civilisation for folks like me who are unable to work any regular hours at all and barely eat well on a daily basis.

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I am on a government disability, status level 2 or “PWD”. I pretty much have gotten 906.00 – 926.00 a month since I was on disability. I got diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I already had PTSD under my belt as well as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and a sleep disorder so the specialist educated me about M.E.

I had to stop being so active, no job, no walking more than two blocks and so on.  Thus began my welfare circus aka poverty circus.  Pain management.

I was born into poverty and abuse, something that comes with the current form of economics we toil under. After healing personal issues of addiction and society based trauma, I began to work jobs I loved; I worked pretty much every aspect of front line jobs, had years under my belt as a radical feminist so, was not shocking I’d have so little to live on but, harsh and heartbreaking none the less.

Not enough money is allocated to ministries and there is never enuff, simple economics explains it and yet social stigma’s rule our social spaces and help perpetuate through ignorance, thru use of a middle class in this oppressive system, thru media, thru charity rather than change etc.

I co parent a daughter who is now 11 yrs. old. Since I began the process of getting onto welfare in order to apply for disability, I had to move out of the home where my daughter was about to be born due to welfare regulations. That was the first of many attacks I encountered as a disabled parent in regards to welfare regulations attacking and dividing my family. I cannot work and regular hours. My disability makes that impossible.

Within a year and a half of living elsewhere, my partner and I would split up. We were already living separate and had a move back to the island, we tried here to make it work and were unable to for many diverse reasons to which I will not delve into.

Suffice it to say, I am unable to get any monies from disability to co-parent my daughter, as I cannot have her 51% of the time due to my disability, what a sick system of divide. Thankfully her mom and I were able to raise her as co-parents and continue to do so quiet amiably, however, if it were not for the Raging Grannies and many housed folks on the CTEHV as well as many other caring people who have adopted me in many ways, try and reach out to me with love, if it were not for these folks who have helped me, her and I’s relationship would be ever more divided by poverty state.

Every year things get worse and I still am not in affordable secure housing. None has been built and still no serious plans. I became so desperate; I began to create a proposal with others help.

We are lived experience folks who have put work into this, all of us desperate for social change that is significant.

Thankfully my daughter and I have loving caring people around us in our home and community currently. Yet, I have work to do as this house is not disability ready and, as my back worsens I know I need easier access to my home.

Others and I are penalized for our disability and that is that.

This year I, when I went to Salvation Army to sign up, since Times Columnist is not doing it anymore. Salvation Army either was appointed or stepped in. So, does the government’s poor bashing charity minded agenda step in as well?

I was asked upon application at Salvation Army: “Do you have your daughter 50% of the time?” They should have asked, “Do you have your daughter 51% of the time or 49%?” Those are the options we get from government on forms. It’s degrading!

I knew right then I might not be getting a voucher to go grocery shop for my daughter and I or, that it would be significantly smaller.

I responded by saying, “due to my disability, I only have her an average 40% of the time and it’s heartbreaking to not get any govt. support at all for her.” Does Telling the truth hurt? Maybe.

The food hamper they offered I was unable to pick up because I was sick in bed with pneumonia. I was unable to get them on the phone using the phone numbers they gave me. I am going to phone another number today and see if, by a “miracle” there is a voucher or a food hamper I can eat for me there.

In the past I received 2 x 75.00 for the two of us, for me it a great xmas gift.

I phoned and got a very caring kind woman, she suggested I come down and “pick up hamper”. I went and her concerned kindness was felt as she tried to help me; I got a box of food and a $25.00 Fairway voucher. I was not sure how to feel. I wondered, “are all the Times Columnist Vouchers gonna get used for Xmas?” Are all what’s left for folks like me who were unable to come and pick up or, is it possible that Salavating Army is stretching them out? Its now January 6th. Who holds Salvation Army accountable to insure the Xmas vouchers acquired through the Times Columnist Xmas fund get used for Xmas?

As a note: The Mustard Seed food hamper is often filled with items I cannot eat so, they are great about taking the time to do one up for us once a month or, when I can get there.

Today I got a box of mandarins and most were still good, as well as bag of potatoes. I got a few items my daughter can eat.

You all must know that the 25.00 will not go far and I’ll have to decide what is most important, as this is it for rest of month. For all of us who cannot work extra hours and are on disability, it’s like this every month, after paying bills there is so little left and food is expensive.

I tried to deliver the Times Columnist Extra Extra for a couple of months and it pretty near had me in hospital. As it turns out, scavenging for bottles and cans seems best for me since I can ride my bike and trailer. You see, I cannot walk more than two blocks without being in far too much pain. I can go out when I am able on bike with trailer and enjoy myself tremendously.

I pick up cans and bottles wherever they are.

Now I have to watch my back as police may be called more now.

Harsh to live in Civilization’ City’s friends! Many of you are kind, yes, and sadly, many are not and live in fear. Can we please help get rid of that punitive to the poor bylaw? Are you aware how many of us parents, grandparents, uncles, dads are out collecting recycling? Many who are heart broken and angered by this unhealthy society and are out here trying to survive. What do you think we should do? Rally government on the front steps till this gets dealt with, watch on the nightly news as they cart us away until you are so moved to help?  Or, can you help change this horrible bylaw CRD wants us all to enforce now? My vision includes absolute systemic change needed in our social, judicial, prison industrial complex and policing concerns. No small feat and, we will do this in your lifetime reader.

Systemic oppression breaks my heart and brings visions, which heal the scars. I will not nor can I ever give up. I can keep moving forward. Please, if and when you see me panhandling in the not so distant future, know that it is not easy and I’d appreciate you stopping and saying hi, panhandling is my future as, my back worsens and bottling will not last. I will keep doing my art, I am about to get back into editing to finish work, Good Cop Bad Kop art show is gonna be called soon, and others may want to tell their stories about encounters with police.

For now, its 2015, I and others want to find a safe and secure home we can enjoy with our children while they are still in school. We need peace in all of this that we poor must deal with.

For myself, as much as I love community living, it’s a lot of work and my disability has needs that are growing.

Maybe you have or know of a friend who has something affordable we can rent that is healthy and near my church?

I attend the First Unitarian Church of Victoria; it’s out of town a bit. Maybe you have a car park turned into a suite or always wanted to do that renovation? Maybe your cool with one of those canister homes being on your property, you know the ones? If so check out this site: http://homeinabox.blogspot.ca/

Maybe you even have my dream, a mobile home we’d LOVE to live in and maybe even keep parked on your property if we could rent from you. I can help with gardening and small fix it jobs and a great security culture I bring with me wherever I go.

All I need is a place to lock up my bike, my daughter’s bike and our trailer.

I can still dream.

In the end, talk to anyone who is a binner and you will get a life story that brought them to it. Many cannot sell drugs nor do other “illegal” activity to survive. If I could, I probably would, as things are that desperate. I am grateful I do not have to go down that pathway as I have a loving and supportive community around me, which is diverse. I am grateful for that.

Life is far too organized by an unhealthy system and it is why we are often hurting. We must look at “proximity” and place ourselves. There are no accidents or mistakes, city planners plan it and backwards economist’s help create it as in unnecessary suffering in the form of poverty and war. Most work hard and yet, many MUST FALL! Like the film I worked on “Taking The Fall and Rising”; we are taking the fall and we must rise out of ashes and, we’d love your help.

With an open heart and non-judgment a request, please take anti oppression 101 as regularly as possible with as many diverse groups of people as that you can. It will help heal us all.

We can all ask why is there a CRD bylaw that punitively attacks folks who want to collect bottles and cans in a most respectful manner?

Until we undo the bylaw, residents can set aside bags of recyclable cans and bottles for easier grabbing. It is a small act but is major support for us out here.

Kym A. Hines

Aka hothead