Written by request of DTES friend “Phoenix”.
In Victoria it is near to impossible to find a home when you are on welfare or disability.
For over 20 years there has been near to no affordable/social housing at 30% of income built. Most new housing is transitional and has staff with no tenancy agreement. Many of us on the list for social housing have been on it for over 10 years, some almost 20. Rates are too low and rents are too high. We wait for someone to die to get a home, its less likely then winning the lotto.
View Towers (locally known housing for poor for over 20 years) continues to baffle us with their high occupancy rates, attempts at gentrification and ongoing police state.
Atira Housing: from the mainland and new to Vancouver Island, just lost in the Supreme Court recently as they were trying to force visitors to low income lodgings to show I.D on each visit. View Towers started to do that a couple of years ago and I got it on film, hope they stopped. (thawVictoria on youtube.)
When the homeless started their own tent city close to services, one business owner bottom lined a bylaw formation and, the police even removed the homeless campers well before bylaw was passed. This same business owner bottom lined the formation of the Pandora Good Neighbor Agreement, merely a tool used by haters to displace and attack the homeless under the auspice of caring!
We poor have had no public space anywhere to meet or hang out without police removing us or jacking us up. For the first time in years we now have a mayor and many council members as well as city staff supporting a one year pilot project for a Micro Housing Village. Bobby Arbess came and pitched the idea to me and I got on board and we brought the idea to the Committee To End Homelessness Victoria, CTEHV. We now have formed a working group who will take on creating a non profit and move forward.
The core of project is based upon a self-governing harm reduction model.
We cannot wait any longer for politicians, we must act now. I believe the only way for us to get social housing built is for us to be the ones who fight for it.
In order to be able to fight we must build community, in order for us to build community we need home. This model has the potential to create healthy self governing space to not only live healthy but to make change and lobby federal and provincial government’s to give us the funding. This cannot be about Fundraising; it must be about demanding government funding.
Thanks to many housed individuals, countless volunteers who have stepped up cause we stepped up, and city councilors and Mayor Lisa Helps, we are moving forward and may be building within two months. I myself am homeless again because a landlord is done resource extracting from us and wants family to move in so, our community house has had to disband.
I am sick and healing from a lung infection and a lesion in right lower lung due to a tooth infection, I hope to not have to go in for surgery to sew up a hole that may be left.
As far as housing, I am only eligible for a bachelor as I get no support for co parenting since I only have daughter 40% of time. Federal government makes parents chose 51 or 49% in order for one parent to get support. Most bachelors’ buildings are not suitable for children. I have more of a chance to win the lotto or work to get into Solidarity Village then I do to find affordable housing, that is how messed it is here in Victoria.
I put one foot in front of the other, its what I was taught to do.
Fact is, it’s usually not enough, and, not all of us have family we were raised with around us. We make our own and look around and see who is here with us. That is whom I call friends. I am grateful for all of you!
Many of us fall thru the cracks and, sadly mostly no one but ourselves will not only help get us up out of them, but help fill them with dirt and shit and grow some community.
Kym hothead hines
VIMEO: place is search field:
Transform Homelessness Advocacy WAtch