All of you have said that there are no good places in the city for people to live outside.
Community Wellness Alliance and Coordinated Assessment and AccessAs I’ve said in the past three Sunday emails, I co-chair a Community Wellness Alliance (CWA) with Island Health. Thank you for these. Register to receive a streaming link for Us and Them. The “symbols”, if we can call it that, of the Great Depression were people in bread lines and living in “hobo jungles” and riding the rails looking for work. And there are no good outdoor spaces for camping in the city for people who are vulnerable and need to be inside.
This likely includes things like wider buffer zones between tents and playing fields and playgrounds, more space between tents – which will have the effect of limiting the number of tents in a given park, and a prohibition on camping near schools. And that work is happening very slowly through the Community Wellness Alliance Decampment Working Group that I’ve highlighted in previous posts and through the hard work of BC Housing, Island Health and many community partners. He was re-elected in 2011, 2014, and 2018. Our staff have been looking into what other cities are doing to manage pandemic-related homelessness and they will be bringing a report to Council for our meeting this Thursday that has some new approaches to managing encampments for the duration of the Provincial State of Emergency. I really encourage you to read at least the last few emails (which I’ve turned into blog posts to make more accessible) if you haven’t.
In the 1980s and 1990s the provincial government closed institutions that had housed people with complex needs with the hopes of a more humane and integrated approach to mental health and addictions. Bylaw staff and parks staff have been working closely with the people living in the park as well as with the North Park Neighbourhood Association to ensure that the transition to new parks is safe, orderly and that when people arrive in the new sites, they are adhering to the new bylaws. It’s about more than just homelessness, there is also a growing conversation and concern for people who have mental health and addictions challenges and who need health care. But I also think it’s important to have information about some of the concerns that have been raised by residents and businesses, my responses, and the work we’re doing. I’ve featured two episodes here. One very smart 13 year old who wrote to me suggested that the Red Cross be engaged to help with this. And I’ll continue to pass along suggestions for creative housing solutions to BC Housing. Some of you have shared stories about conversations you’ve had with your unhoused neighbours over the past few weeks and have contacted me to share what some individuals need. I’ll explain what I mean by this in a moment. By 2014, the federal government was only spending $58 per capita on affordable housing and the population of the country grew by 30% during that same period. This group existed pre-COVID but has pivoted now to help address the camping in parks issue. Public TransitAffordable, reliable and accessible public transit is critical to the future of our communities economically, socially and environmentally. They see the impacts of poverty, of homelessness. Police aren’t the answer to solving or even managing homelessness. An empty Federation Square in central Melbourne.Credit:Penny Stephens. We all love Pemberton Park, Hollywood Park, Central Park, Beacon Hill Park, all our parks we want them to be available for everyone especially kids and seniors. Councillor Marianne Alto.
This is a top-up provided to the income assistance rate which makes it possible for people to move from supportive housing into market rental units. Over the past months of the ongoing global health pandemic, our bylaw team, our public works team, our parks staff and many more have been on the front lines doing their jobs in extremely challenging circumstances. The current moment we find ourselves in is not indicative of Victoria’s future; Victoria has a bright future. If you’re only interested in discussions of sheltering in parks, you can skip to 4:15. Victoria is not alone.
> The Federal GovernmentLast week I asked people to write to the federal government to request that they support the Province to acquire more housing for people who are currently living outside. I think this a good idea and have passed it along to BC Housing to pursue. We will demand an economic recovery that prioritises workers’ rights over the profits of business, opening employers to union scrutiny and enforcing safety standards. I’ve read all your emails and will make sure that there’s enough information in here to address the concerns you’ve raised. For our cities to remain competitive with counterparts in the rest of Canada and the world in a post-pandemic economy, we must keep building transit-friendly communities that continuously invest in high quality transit that reduces road congestion and GHG emissions, keeps our goods moving efficiently on limited road space, and offers an affordable transportation mode to all residents, especially those without other options. Once people are offered indoor alternatives, then the camps are cleared. Thank you to the Chief of staff of our Medical departments, all other health care workers and all front-line workers. What a difficult situation we are all in. As I said, moving people from park to park doesn’t make sense. To heal from trauma. Enter your email address to follow and receive notifications of new posts, View lisa-helps-327a4a30’s profile on LinkedIn. These are shown in bold. The City isn’t responsible for health care. This fund is distributed on a per bedroom basis to non-profit housing providers for construction costs. While reviewing changes to the Police Act, consider alternative approaches for responding to mental health and substance use calls in the community on a 24/7 basis. And when I did, I felt lonely – all that space in front of me. But the reality is the City of Victoria does not have this power or ability. Here’s a good recent article from Douglas Magazine that shares some of that work. I feel terrible that some people feel afraid to use the parks. These park amenities will remain closed due to high touch points and an inability to keep enough distance between individuals. Prior to being elected as Mayor, she served as a Victoria City Councillor for one term, from 2011 to 2014. We are in a crisis situation, we are still living under a Provincial State of Emergency. This group includes Island Health, BC Housing, the Coalition to End Homelessness, the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness as well as city staff in bylaw and the mayor and city manager’s office and representatives from various provincial ministries. To those of you who wrote to me about downtown and Centennial Square, please see my post from Sunday September 13, under the heading Parks Bylaw Changes, Centennial Square and Policing where I address this issue. The items are selected highlights from the October 15, 2020 Council Meeting. To engage in dialogue about this really, really difficult issue.
As many of you have said in your thoughtful emails to me, this isn’t primarily about homelessness. These investments support the private sector to keep local people working and support local supply chains through procurement of goods and services. We aspire not only that the outer manifestations of suffering decrease … We aspire to dissolve the myth that we are separate.”. So what are we going to do? Please take the time to read it. As a City Council we are only responsible for the 20 square km handkerchief of land that is Victoria. Push is a documentary from award-winning director Fredrik Gertten, investigating why we can’t afford to live in our own cities anymore. A number of people also wrote asking if I would support The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness 6-Point Plan to end homelessness in Canada. That way you will get the email automatically when I post it there, but I won’t be flooding your inbox for the next few weeks and months, unless you ask me to. I’ve attached share the whole Blueprint for you. A group of you wrote suggesting this approach: Someone else wrote and suggested turning the historic Bank Street School into a shelter. Willis School, but for Vic High renovations, offers comparative insight. They may need light supports that can be provided by Island Health or others. The CEO of course was surprised to see him, but invited him into his office. We will get through this together and we will do that by being kind and respectful of each other. Then I’ll address your questions and concerns. Thanksgiving, How Housing Works in the City of Victoria, Sheltering in Parks – mayor’s Sunday email – October 11 2020; Update on Sheltering in Parks, Mental Health, Addictions and Homelessness, Front Line City Staff, Election Calls to Action – Mayor’s Sunday Email – October 4 2020 Because I’m receiving many emails on the same topic with shared concerns and a variety of perspectives, I’ve decided to write back to all of you at once. Some of you have said that this unpredictable, sometimes scary and violent behaviour is happening because people don’t have the help they need. I’m happy to report that Council will be making a $3.7 million investment in the long-awaited bike skills and skate park. Now here we are all these months later and we’re not through the pandemic and people are still sheltering in place, outside. We did so based on the guidance of Dr. Henry who sent guidelines to mayors across the Province in June 8th. While we’re looking at this situation in front of us, working hard to resolve it, can we also look to the future together, to the near future, next spring and summer when we’ve got people housed, when parks are once again for everyone. Watch. Yes, I will support the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness 6 Point Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in Canada and will bring a motion to Council asking them to do so as well. If any of you have similar resources to share, please write me to let me know.
A provincial election has just been called and myself and mayors from across the province will be working hard to raise this issue with all parties. Council also decided on Thursday to allocate close to an additional $100,000 for policing for the remainder of 2020 to help ensure safety and security around the areas where people are camping. Many of you have written this week from areas around the city near parks where people are sheltering and other places where people may be sheltering soon. Fifth – Put Ourselves in Each Other’s ShoesOne set of shoes: What would it be like to be a young family, or a senior citizen who relies on neighbourhood parks for recreation, exercise well-being, who now feels that their park has been taken away, it feels unsafe.