LETTER: Changing attitudes towards homeless people critical to solution

Send your letters to editor@saanichnews.com

According to BC Housing Minister Selina Robinson, “A plan is in place to provide shelter and housing for all homeless campers currently staying at Goldstream Provincial Park”. But this plan was developed with no discussion with the people staying at the park or consideration of their needs. Unsurprisingly, it failed.

What if decision makers actually listened to homeless people?

What if instead of punishing, displacing, and policing people who are unhoused, municipal and provincial leaders went to tent cities and built relationships, asked what has and hasn’t worked well in existing systems, sought advice on solutions, and collaboratively developed an action plan to address immediate, short-term, and longer-term issues?

What if instead of expanding temporary shelters without any input, government asked homeless people: until there is housing that meets everyone’s needs, where is the best place for you to live? What would best protect your safety, well-being, stability, and dignity in that space?

And what if government asked: when we do build housing, what are the things you need in that housing? What makes a place feel like home? Do you need to live with other people, near other people, alone? Are there frequently accessed services, cultural communities, loved ones who you

need to live close to? Any supports that would help with feeling safe and secure in your new home?

Until we change our attitudes towards homeless people, and consider them an expert on their own lives there will never be a solution. Listening is not enough, but it is where we must start.

Stephanie Arlt


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

Just Posted

Victoria council keeps its catered lunches at more than $10,000 per year

Two councillors tried to eliminate the expense, with widespread rejection

UPDATED: 12 Wet’suwet’en supporters arrested by VicPD

Protesters rallied against Coastal GasLink pipeline

High-rise hotel proposed for downtown Victoria location

A 15-storey hotel could be coming to the Fort and Blanshard streets area

Rickter Scale: Where art thou, Sir John A?

The Rickter Scale is a regular column

VIDEO: Trudeau insists Iran respect families’ wishes when it comes to burials

All 176 people on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 were killed

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 21

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

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

Successful end to search for kayakers along the Island river

Father and son located tired and cold, but otherwise OK

Vancouver Island man arrested after police seize suspected illicit drugs in Nanoose Bay

Car impounded after Port Alberni driver clocked travelling at more than twice the posted speed limit

Theo the 800-pound pig trimmed down and still looking for love on Vancouver Island

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

Most Read