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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