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

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.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich is calling for public input on the three design options for the youth bike skills park planned for the lot next to the George Tripp BC Hydro Substation off Lochside Drive. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich seeks input on designs for new bike park

Three concept plans to choose from feature pump tracks, jumps, trails

A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at David Cameron Elementary School. People may have been exposed on April 14 to 16. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Colwood elementary school

Exposure at Esquimalt’s Ecole Victor-Brodeur also confirmed

Colwood resident Maria Curcic shows off a one-of-a-kind hat that she created. Curcic is one of several artists that took part in the annual Stinking Fish Studio Tour. (Contributed - Maria Curcic)
Curtain closes on Stinking Fish Studio Tour

The Stinking Fish Studio Tour will live on through the lasting legacy… Continue reading

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria rose to 5.7 per cent in March 2021, an increase of 0.8 per cent compared to February 2021. But the local unemployment rate remains the among the lowest in Canada. (Black Press Media File)
Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate rises to 5.7 per cent

The increase marks a reversal from recent months, but local economy among the strongest in Canada

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Joudelie King wants to get out and live life to the fullest, but there are places she can’t go because they don’t meet her accessibility needs. (submitted photo)
New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

British Columbia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Wildfire fanned by winds near Merritt prompts evacuation alert

BC Wildfire Service says the suspected human-caused blaze was fanned by winds

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
National fitness group condemns unlicensed Kelowna gym’s anti-vaccine policy

The Fitness Industry Council of Canada says Flow Academy is shining a negative light on the industry

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Most Read