Articles

Here you can find our articles. We release a new article almost every day and each article is written by a student in our class.

How To Treat The Homeless.

By Sam. P and Jack H.
There are a lot of things you can do to treat the homeless. Chances are they have had a hard life or are having a hard time so they want to be treated right. A few of them are first nations and the reason why they are on the street is linked to residential schools and how they or their parents were treated cruelly, resulting in PTSD, depression, and other illnesses so they turned to drugs which affected the lives of their children greatly. Everyone has a different story but nobody chooses to be homeless. Ask them what their life is like and try to start a conversation. People won’t always want to open up to you, so be respectful when initiating conversation.

When you walk downtown, you will always see at least one homeless person and even if you don’t want to engage, you’ve got to remember that they’re human just like you and they need your help. If you don't have anything give then just say hello or smile at them. A lot of people ignore people on the street and don’t acknowledge them. They just look away and pretend like they’re someone who screwed up their life on purpose, but you will never know if you don't talk to them or acknowledge them and even if they are on your way to a coffee shop or something then buy them a drink and be nice.

Homeless people suffer many injustices, and we may not be able to help with them all, but one problem we can all stand up against is how much the media stereotypes homeless people. To learn about the stereotypes they face, make sure to read other articles. What these stereotypes do is affect our behavior and attitude towards them. If we hear negative stereotypes about them, this can lead us to believe them. Even if you assure yourself that they’re not true, it can still change the way we interact with them. The truth is that homeless people are humans like us, and deserve the same treatment. On our expeditions downtown we spoke with people about their thoughts on homelessness, and some of the people were or had been homeless. Everyone we spoke with came to the mutual conclusion that homeless people deserve as much respect as anyone else. We had a debrief after the expedition where we further talked about it. But the sad fact is that these stereotypes may prevent us from seeing that. Many stereotypes surrounding homeless people dictate that they do drugs, are aggressive, which leads to less interaction with them. But we need to remember that not everyone's like that, because they're each humans with different stories. If you want to see these stereotypes then visit the stereotypes page that Taro is doing.


Information on Homelessness


By: Jessica, Sofia, Camille and Maya
Imagine going through the hardships that homeless people are forced to go through. You have a home, a place to hang your coat, a soft bed for you to sink in at the end of a rough day… Now it’s taken away from you, and the next thing you know you’re sleeping on cardboard and begging for spare change. You can’t afford dinner and there is no one to protect you during the cold nights. To add to that, people are afraid of you, strangers look at you and maybe they say nothing but in their eyes there is fear. They think you are dangerous. They think you’re dangerous because you have no place to live.
Homelessness is a problem in our city and most people know it. The question is, do we really know just how serious this problem is?
There are countless stereotypes about the homeless, some being that they’re all addicts, dangerous, that it’s their fault they’re on the street. People consider homeless criminals, or perhaps lazy. However, these stereotypes are not always true. For example people on the streets are anything but lazy. They have to manage to get food, find shelter, and survive out in the city.
Greater Victorians cited the primary causes of homelessness as mental health issues (98%), poverty (94%), drug and/or alcohol abuse (93%), physical, cognitive or other disability (83%) and  unemployment (83%).
According to the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, approximately 250 supportive housing units (temporary homes and places that include individualized, flexible and voluntary support services) were built, compared to 460 affordable housing units (low-cost market housing) since 2008. However, 250 or possibly more supportive housing units are required, as well as 1500 affordable housing units to end homelessness completely in Victoria.
There are many different types of homelessness. Three of the most common types are transitional, episodic, and chronic homelessness. Transitional homelessness occurs when someone is forced into homelessness because of uncontrollable circumstances. This might be losing a job, a family crisis, or losing important material goods. Episodic homelessness is when a person repeatedly falls in and out of homelessness. This often happens with people with mental health issues or drug addictions.  Chronic homelessness occurs when a person is in the street for a particularly long period of time and very few or no resources are at their disposition to modify their situation.
    Often ignored is hidden homelessness. This is when people are forced to temporarily live with family, friends, in their car, or anywhere else because they have nowhere else to live. In 2014, 8% of the Canadians aged fifteen and over reported that they had experienced this situation. The table below gives information on youth homelessness in that period:

18%: experienced hidden homelessness for at least 1 year
55%: for less than one year but more than one month
27%: for less than one month

    All these statistics show how rough homelessness can be. Just remember there are faces and stories behind these numbers.

You can act to make a difference, with something as simple as a smile. It can make someone morein’s day.

“Who are we as human beings if we ignore the suffering of others?”
-Anonymous

For more information, please see:
-CBC.ca
-Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness
-Réseau solidarité du Québec (2006)
-https://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-006-x/2016001/article/14678-eng.htm
-http://homelesshub.ca/blog/picture-isnt-pretty
-https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/search?id=2E4C7D6BCAA4470AAAD2DCADF662E6A0&q=homelessness+statistics+for+british+columbia+2017 -Government of BC site, searched “homelessness statistics”
-http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/unique-richmond-escape-room-shows-how-tough-it-is-to-leave-homelessness

Natalie's Story


By Talia C
In late January, we walked downtown to interview people on the street about their thoughts on homelessness. Some of the questions we asked included:

What are your thoughts on tent city?

What can the city or province do to help with homelessness?

Do you usually stay in one location, or do you move around?

Once we split into smaller groups, my group interviewed a lady named Natalie*. She was sitting alone and it seemed almost as though she was hiding behind her umbrella. Next to her was a shopping cart that probably contained most of what she owned. Here’s her story:

Natalie worked for the government for 17 years. She lived in a condo complex for the whole time. She kept her father’s things, who was an artist that passed away, in her condo.
After 17 years of working, she lost her job due to inability to work because she developed arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. For pain, she took Opioids and she eventually began taking heroin instead as a form of painkiller because it was easier to access and use.

“I don’t want to get high. I just want to get through my day with manageable pain.”

It became difficult for her to pay rent, and eventually she was evicted. She had nowhere to go and her landlord disposed of her father’s artwork, which obviously had a lot of sentimental value for her. With nowhere to stay, probably due to the high housing costs of Victoria, Natalie found herself homeless. She stayed at tent city for the entire duration that it was up and she was one of the last people to leave it.
“Staying at tent city, I saw more community than I’d seen anywhere else”, she’d said when we asked her thoughts on the temporary residence. She told us it was self-governed and self-policed, and that anyone who OD’d was kept alive in the community.
“Even though initially crime rates went up in the neighborhood, they came back down.”

After tent city was shut down, she never stayed in one place, switching from shelter to shelter. She is currently not allowed to return to Our Place due to a conflict that happened within.

“Homeless shelters have a ridiculous ability to ban homeless people. I’m not allowed there (Our Place), so where do I shower? What do I eat? I end up on the street in the way of society. I have to move around, I have no choice.”

Natalie told us that in her experience, she can’t sleep outside of stores or on benches because people complain about her. My question is, if it’s so hard for a homeless person to get rest, doesn’t that negatively affect their chances of living a normal life even more?
Natalie was at first hesitant to talk to us, but she opened up after a few minutes and told us her story. The truth is, we’re all human and it’s in our nature to want to connect. It’s probably very difficult to make friends in the homeless community because you would have to spend so much time and energy just surviving. Without love and friendship, I imagine anyone would have bad feelings built up, and when someone actually tries to talk to them, they’d be more than willing to have a conversation just to be relieved of that stress for a few minutes. Everyone is human, and everyone has a different story. It’s the people who live in houses and have the resources to help that need to work together to change the lives of those who aren’t fortunate enough to live somewhere safe and have food to eat every day. So next time you see someone on the street sitting alone, don’t be too afraid to approach them and make conversation. No matter how we live, we’re all human.

Our Ourplace Reflections

Our class recently visited the ourplace centre in downtown Victoria, here are our thoughts.
By Floyd Scott

    Our social justice class went to our place for a tour. Here are my thoughts on our visit. Our Place is a non profit organization that houses, helps and cares for the homeless. Our Place includes a few dozen units of housing, free meals 3 times a day, snacks and drinks all day, safe injection sites, free showers, free clothing and much more!  One woman talked to our class about her journey from homelessness to working at our place it was very interesting because she shared a lot of things, somethings that were not so easy to share. She talked about addictions, family history (including residential schools) and lots of other things about homelessness. We were also given a tour by a worker who showed us all of the facilities and amenities of the building.
    Our Place is a great organization that needs support and donations to keep it running. Here is a link to there website to learn more about their facilities or help out.
https://www.ourplacesociety.com/  
By: Camille

The word that best describes the trip to Our Place for me, is inspiring. I had no idea how stories can vary. Shirley’s story spanned across her entire life, even when she was a child she was exposed to drug abuse and I thought that it was incredible that she was able to finally break the cycle in her family. Getting a job can be extremely difficult after being homeless because as she mentioned, your employers are going to want to know where you have been the past five years of your life.
I also remembered one afternoon when I went on a walk with my friend and her mom. I can’t recall exactly how we ended up bumping into him, but we met this guy, let’s call him Carl. He continued on our walk with us when my friend, her mom and I got to the coffee shop we were planning in going to. We invited him to join us but he told us he had no money, and that he was homeless. We payed for his office and he told us how his girlfriend kicked him out and basically kept everything he had.
I just think it’s so crazy how everyone can have these completely different stories and never even share them. It’s completely anonymous, and nobody needs to explain why they ended up on the streets to share in the bond that Tracy explained to us. In conclusion, Our Place made me want to volunteer there when I’m old enough, because what they’re doing there is incredible, and inspiring.

By Sofia

The people with the smallest amount of things share the most, is often how it goes. Walking through Our Place I could see this, even just the small things. People giving up their seat to someone, or even something as simple as sharing your smile. Everyone at Our Place is family, all part of one community. The volunteers, clients, staff, everyone. This community is full of empowerment, and belonging. It’s inspiring knowing that people going through so much still find hope. It doesn’t matter your background, or family, you’re accepted no matter what. The biggest thing that I learned when we went there, is everyone is human. Even something as simple as a friendly smile, can make change. Because change starts with love.

By: Maya

After going to Our Place and meeting Tracy, I thought what they are doing is really incredible, She had told us about the care provided by Our Place and how it is a non-judgemental, respectful, place. We had listened to Shirley’s story, who had been homeless. At some parts it was really difficult listening because of the age she was and the situation she had been in, I think it’s really amazing how she had broken the family cycle and how now she works at Our Place to help others. We had also talked with Benoît who had also been homeless, he had explained how Our Place treats everyone like a family member and not a client.
Being in Our Place, you can really feel how tight-knit everyone is and that was really gripping.

The Street Survival Guide

By Silas

Many Victorians have to work extremely hard to just to survive everyday and finding the right resources is a large challenge for them. The homeless community needs help and while there’s a lot to be done to eliminate the problem, some people are making a difference, for example The Greater Victoria Coalition To End Homelessness with their Street Survival Guide.

But what is the Street Survival Guide? Well it’s a 21 page guide that includes many useful places and resources for someone without a home, here are a few things it has inside.
Locations where food is provided
Locations where shelter and rest is provided
Washroom locations
Guides to your rights
Places where showers and skin care is provided
And much more help for anyone who needs it.

But who are The Greater Victoria Coalition To End Homelessness? On their website victoriahomelessness.ca they introduce themselves as a group of non-profit organizations, levels of government and local service providers that have one common goal: To ensure solutions are in place to help people without homes. Now all together they also aim to inform and involve the citizens of Victoria about their cause and helping their ideas become a reality. They banded together in 2008 and have been working ever since.

Well what can you do to help them? You could always donate on their website but there are other ways to help out, such as:
Volunteering at their events
Donating on their website
Following their employment opportunities
Or you could even have discussions with your family and friends and find other ways to help.

You can find their website here: http://victoriahomelessness.ca/


Homeless, The Why And How

“No one is asking what happened to all the homeless. No one cares, because it’s easier to get on the subway and not be accosted” - Richard Linklater

When you’re a young age, where you live and who you surround yourself with are crucial. If you are homeless youth, then you can be stunted, possibly for your entire life. It’s awful, but not uncommon. In a recent survey reported by Covenant house, 40% of homeless were under 16 when they first experienced homelessness, and over the course of a year in Canada more than 40, 000 youth spend time homeless.

Growing up on the streets can mean learning things the hard way. Things that most kids shouldn’t have to learn in the first place. But homelessness doesn’t always mean that you live on the streets. On any given night, 40,000 homeless do have a temporary shelter. These people are called the ‘hidden homeless’. These people have access to housing.. Temporarily. They could be staying with a friend, in a hotel or maybe they are struggling to afford an apartment. Eventually they end up either on the streets, a shelter or a permanent home. This kind of homelessness brings up a whole new problem for homeless youth; trust. A recent survey tells us that more than 60% of homeless youth have reported to being victims of a violent crime, and since homeless under the age of 18 aren’t normally permitted to stay in apartment buildings or hotels all by themselves, they are forced to put a lot of faith into someone they may not even know. The reason for this is because the majority of homeless youth are runaways, and staying with someone they are close to could risk their parents finding them. One in seven kids between the ages 10-18 will run away. You may be thinking, ‘if they have it so bad, then why don’t these kids just go home?’. Well, not all of them can. 80% of all female homeless youth were reported to be subjected to physical violence at home. 5-20% were pregnant, 20-40% identify as LGBT+ and/or questioning and 71% of homeless youth struggle with substance abuse. No one is asking you to fix youth homelessness. But we’re asking you to care.