I was asked this question given my involvement lately at SIC.
I am an activist / community builder who identifies as an anarcho feminist not an “outreach worker”, and that is my role at SIC currently.
Yes, I was an outreach worker for PEERS back when I got hired to develop their outreach and worked in tandem with street nurses, one of my favorite jobs to this day. e honour to work there,
Before that I helped open and develop policy for Sandi Merriman House (before I was bearded) and before it was Kool Aid it was run by an all woman board.
Before that Fire Tower job than before that Alpha House Detox which was a wet shelter with mats on one side and a detox on the other, I worked both sides and even ran some workshops.
Before that I worked at North Villa Treatment Center which was my first front line job and they hired me based upon being clean and sober for 2 years, (I was one of youngest at 24). and they also hired me because I had personal experience on streets with drugs and alcohol, and that I was a client in South Villa Half Way House.
I been displaced more times than I can tell you, I am a survivor of generational child abuse, generational poverty, generational alcoholism and generational violence.
So, here is a good story.
I had the pleasure to go to Vancouver for both a tent city summit and a great public panel.
I would meet women who formed the Surrey Tent city and they inspired me to go to their city and rally on their behalf, support them and their work for home. I met two women from Maple Ridge and they too were strong!
I met two men from Tent City Abbotsford, Abby Diggs, I noticed right away a real tightness between these groups, just like with many from our SIC communities. Some have known each other for years. Some have just met. Old skool teaches new skool old skool rules and new skool keeps old timers like us in the swing of things. Many send love and messages of solidarity from the mainland!
We got home from being at the Tent City Summit and there was a message from an organiser, “A laptop is missing, its in a backpack which is also missing, we think it accidently got put in your car and maybe went with you?” I think I may even had packed it in.
We had 7 residents of SIC, many of whom are members of SIC Society, the first society to form off of Super InTent City and they happen to also be many of the original homeless on site to whom the judge referred to when he spoke of those hard to house whom nothing else exist’s for. I went down and let Ana know, asked her to try and get a message to AJ so he can be warned it might be in his pile. I bumped into Will, I passed it to him as well.
Next day, still no computer or AJ.
Than I bumped into him today.
He got back today and It felt like the stars were lining up when I saw him, it was a good sign I thought?
I let him know the message, someone had accidentally put in our pile a back pack with a mac book that is irreplaceable. Did you happen to see both or either? He thought about it.
Finally he AJ says “i don’t know about the backpack.”
He waits a second than says “But, …I think I seen that mac book in my stuff?”
I was so shocked I says “Really? Sheeit! (Big grin.) I was heading out and his pile of stuff is tight and I’d seen him go thru it over the week end and was impressed what he had in his stuff of dealing with life. I says “why not let me know after you sort it thru, I’ll be back later?” He says “ok”.
I walk away, take about five minutes to leave and head down road finally when I am tao blocks away I hear Ana yell HOTHEAD.
I smile and circle back.
I am so happy to share this photo here:
I get to her tent and find out that AJ did have the mac book and plugs, no backpack. I was so happy I almost cried for Dave Diewert.
He is so relieved he sends thank you’s all around and he will be reunited with his love soon as a friend is going to hand deliver it.
After all these months, I have bonded with many down at Super InTent City. Housed as well as homeless. I have made a lot of new friends, I have allowed myself to be more vulnerable than ever before. It made me stronger and gave me a closer feeling of connection. I had to look at values and ethics I hold strong and had to act alone at times based upon these values, I do not regret any of it! The support was there.
I was so moved two years ago by a sense of dread for a lot of folks and their future whom I knew and cared for including my own daughter.
Where will folks live down the road?
I was encouraged by my friend debie o’connell to do create this document called the Diverse Social Housing Proposal for Autonomous Societies, I am forever grateful to her, may she rest in peace:
Steph just whipped up this great concept art for cover for Tent City Summit:
Am I Human?
I feel I not only have a larger extended family, and I do, I also have deeply bonded with SIC Society. They really have inspired me. Its real now and its been real since beginning.
I want to end with how it has been heart warming to connect with some of these young men around Bruce Dean whom I definitely appreciate. He has a lot of experience in youth work and its great to be around him and to get his support with issues at SIC re: Police State.
I love how well he works with young tough men and, how he works well as a team, this is critical in social interactions I think, no ONE is boss, team work. He is not a bully and does not shame at all, he is respectful but not a rug and has great boundaries which I respect.
I been enjoying working in this team with him and I am grateful.
Respect and kudo’s, shout out and all that!
kym hothead hines
I am a visitor in L’kwungen WSANEC Territory’s