Went to Super InTent City to follow up with some folks tonight. Was visiting with Anna (She was homeless and is now a resident at Super InTent) when I noticed a young man was just being put in cuffs across the street on Quadra at Burdette.
“Heads up” and away we go to make sure all is well. The two of us walked over and Anna was great with the young fellow right away, I fell back and let she took the lead as they knew him and I know better than to gather around a person to close as it can make them feel on display, and they might be having a mental health situation or some sort of stress or duress, not to mention the police were also assessing. I appreciated how Annabrought a grounded calm simply because they are a resident and new him, and how they put out some boundaries right off, also something I appreciated.
To go back a step, the police were at first not so cool with us coming in, we made it clear who we were, me a visitor of Super InTent and supporter from the CTEHV. When I was asked my name, I looked away and the officer said “you don’t want to give it to me?” I said, “well, I don’t have to right?” Officer said yes, that’s right. Anna asked if the young fellow was being arrested or charged. They said investigating a possible mischief charge. After the officer figured out we knew our rights and that we were indeed support, things calmed down for them. Also, it didn’t take long after that the officer in charge came over and asked the young fellow if he could take cuffs off and if he’d stay for assessment when paramedics got there, just to make sure he was fine. He agreed. Good that many others were watching from across the street, still others walked across and came over.
Anna mentioned to him that they’d seen him around Super InTent this last couple of days. We would find out he was seen by citizens with a small knife and was using it to make nicks in signs, metal signs, on the street as he was walking down the street. She asked the young man “do you realize that is not a good idea? To come and possibly put us at risk right? You are welcome to come back but you cannot do this behavior right?” He listened intently. She then sat down and started to chat more casual and helping him focus on other things, it was beautiful to watch, she spoke of carving and wood cutting and it got him thinking of other things. He calmed down.
Just before this point others from SIC came over, it was under control. Nice to have the added cigarette shared, showing more support in numbers is good, and, great work Anna.
I know lots of people who have had limited experience with multiple issued folks, and it helps to share positive stories that happen so we can learn from each other in respectful ways.
Like, when I noticed that Anna knew the fellow, I was able to fall back, its an important skill to learn. Many at Super InTent including me are dealing with boundaries, I remind folks that this is their home, and we are visitors.
They lead we follow. We are not their saviors, and in the am circles we had been hearing a lot that, it is they who have a lot to teach us. This is community, its diverse and has diverse support, its all about Solidarity and ally work, this is it. We are grateful and privileged to be here.
Super InTent City residents who are considered homeless sure as heck got the best security culture going. We can all learn a thing or two from the residents.
So, the officer came over, and he ends up taking off cuffs. See how that would go. I said that that was kind of him to do that.
It was clear to myself that Anna helped him feel calm donw, sat right beside him, I sat on ground eventually as well behind and beside Ace, as two officers were pacing in front of him and I wanted to help him focus on Anna since clearly that was working.
The officer basically said that, “well, it seems you have an opportunity to go into this space (SIC) with these supportive people and they can help take care of you till you feel better, they want to feed you, so, we can leave, alright?” (Thea and crew were around for meal sharing, stir fry! Folks loved it)
To me, and to City of Victoria this is but more proof that for the homeless, having each other for support makes a BIG difference and I am grateful for the support down at Super InTent City that empowers folks living homeless to lead in and amongst themselves. That we as outside supporters can continue to offer team work.
Super InTent is just now putting up posters in their Village calling for a community meeting this Saturday April 2nd at 4pm.
Details in coming, know this:
I am ever so proud of this community of Un-housed family who challenges us to grow and heal with them. This is healing!