Victoria mayor calls on feds for more social housing dollars

The memories from Bernice Kamano's painful past are still fresh in her memory.

The memories from Bernice Kamano’s painful past are still fresh in her memory.

Kamano was just nine months old when she was taken from her mother and father and placed in the foster care system in Vancouver.

“I was a sick child. My mother took me to the hospital. Because my mother was aboriginal, I was apprehended,” said Kamano, who was a keynote speaker at the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness’ annual general meeting at the First Metropolitan United Church Tuesday.

For years, she jumped from home to home, never having a stable roof over her head.

As a child, she has very vivid memories of her experience living in an orphanage. Kamano’s picture was published in a local newspaper asking for people to adopt her — though she never was. On another occasion, children in the orphanage lined up and adults would choose which child to take out on a day trip.

“It was a painful life. I pretty much had no family and lived alone, isolated and abandoned,” said Kamano, adding she battled addiction when she was older. “That pain never leaves you. People think you should get over it, but you don’t. It’s part of who you are. But what the pain doesn’t do anymore is take you out.”

Now, the 67-year-old Victoria resident is standing tall and living in a home she can call her own.

“It’s really nice to be secure. Living in foster care all the time, the concept of living in a home wasn’t really a part of my reality,” Kamano said. “But now that I am in a home. It’s my place and I can do what I want.”

Kamano, a member of the Kwakwaka’waka Nation, is currently using her own experience to help the aboriginal homeless community and help end homelessness in Victoria.

At the AGM, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps also kicked off a new homelessness awareness campaign, calling on the federal government to increase its investment in social housing by 0.6 per cent.

“We can see this stepping back — ongoing homelessness, people who are housing in increasing housing need, unstable housing, increased health and social service costs, death due to lack of shelter,” she said. “All we need is to increase the investment in social housing to 1.6 per of the federal budget and we can solve the problem.”

There needs to be 367 affordable housing units to end homelessness in the region, according to the coalition.

 

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

Just Posted

Willow, a kitten belonging to a Victoria family, was rescued by firefighters on Thursday after she got stuck in a basement drain pipe. (City of Victoria/Twitter)
Victoria kitten stuck in basement drain pipe rescued by firefighters

Willow the cat on the mend, owner feeling ‘enormous gratitude’

(Black Press Media file photo)
Blue-green algae bloom confirmed in Elk Lake, water-based activities not recommended

Blue-green algae can be lethal to dogs, cause health issues for humans

Victoria police arrested a man Jan. 15 after he rammed his minivan into an occupied police vehicle. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested for ramming minivan into occupied police vehicle

Man caught after fleeing, crashing into cement retaining wall

Mayor Rob Martin and Costa Canna president Phil Floucault cut the ribbon on Colwood’s first cannabis retail store. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Cowichan Tribes’ Costa Canna cannabis store opens in Colwood

Cowichan Tribes has one-year deal to grow, sell cannabis

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read