Bernice Kamano speaks at the National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day event on Dec. 21

Remembering those who died living on the street

Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness holds vigil for homeless people who have died on the street.

  • Dec. 29, 2015 2:00 p.m.

— Kevin Underhill

When Bernice Kamano told the small crowd, during a candlelight vigil on National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, about a young man who had passed away living on the streets, she couldn’t bring herself to read the whole story.

The young aboriginal man had battled homelessness among other issues in his all-too-short lifetime. Attendees and stopper-bys at Whale Wall in downtown on Dec. 21, listened to somber presentations and observed a moment of silence, remembering those who passed away living on the streets in 2015. It was only fitting that a cold wind accompanied the shortest day of the year. The sentiment was clear from the beginning and echoed throughout the event: end homelessness in Victoria.

Hilary Marks, with the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, led the event as volunteers passed out electric candles. She hopes one day they won’t have to hold this event at all.

“By law we all have the right to housing but unfortunately we don’t all have it,” Marks said. “I wish we could stop this and just house people and have them living longer and have a better quality of life.”

Marks said the mission is to end homelessness by 2018 and she thinks if everyone is on board and doing the right things, there’s no reason they can’t accomplish their goal.

“I’m hopeful and I’m keeping my faith that it’s going to happen.”

Among the roughly 35 people in attendance was Jeremy Loveday, a Victoria city councillor. He said this event serves as a reminder of the work that needs to be done to find a home for everyone in the city.

“I’m here to remember what people without homes face on a daily basis,” Loveday said. “This event raises awareness but it’s really about remembering and holding space for those who have lost their lives living on the street.”

According to Loveday, the coalition reports that 367 people are sleeping on the streets or in shelters every night. Marks said the mayor and council are doing a good job — more than past governments have done — but added municipal leaders can’t do it all.

“We need new provincial government. Housing is a right and Christy Clark doesn’t seem to understand that,” she said. “We need money, we need housing and we need to start building.”

The emotional presentations came to a close and whatever sunlight was left disappeared as the crowd dispersed. National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day may have come to a close but for many, life on the streets is an every-night battle.

 

 

Just Posted

VicPD seek witnesses to the assault of a youth

On March 24 three men with a white van accosted a youth walking on Dallas Road

Team Canada athletes training at CFB Esquimalt for 2019 Warrior Games

Games enhance the recovery of ill and injured soldiers

Coroner’s inquest announced for Oak Bay teen’s overdose death

Elliot Eurchuk was 16 years old when he died of an opioid overdose at his Oak Bay home

Snake seen slithering in Saanich neighbourhood

Police describe the animal as ‘large, pale [and] yellow’ suggesting it might be exotic

Councillor wants to see concrete action after Saanich declares climate emergency

Coun. Nathalie Chambers doesn’t want declaration to be mere ‘lip-service’

VIDEO: RCMP reveal five kids hit in deadly B.C. crash

The children range in age from six to 17.

POLL: Do you still have a landline telephone?

With smart phones becoming an indispensable part of modern-day life, more and… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

Island Health announces funding for 52 projects on Island

$750,000 will go to fund these projects

UPDATED: Three dead in Surrey crash: police

Single-vehicle crash occurred around 10:30 a.m., police remain on-scene

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Military officer accused of sexual misconduct, drunkenness in B.C., Alberta

Warrant Officer Jarvis Kevin Malone is charged under the National Defence Act

Most Read