“The only real expert is the one who has experienced it.” (Gloria Steinem)
I am pleased to be the moderator for MLA Andrew Weaver’s Town Hall Forum on Poverty and Homelessness — The Difficult Conversation, at the University of Victoria’s David Turpin Theatre, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm February 4, 2015.
Having worked with “people on the margins” for a large part of my career, I know that many of us living in relative comfort rarely have positive opportunities to connect with those of us living in extreme discomfort. The homeless and vulnerable among us have a difficult and challenging time having their voices heard, often because when they reach out, they encounter indifference, fear or ignorance. No, it’s not easy.
But many local individuals, agencies and organizations are helping to make it easier by doing just that, by reaching out and working hard to help the homeless and vulnerable with daily care, meals and shelter. Facilities such as Our Place, the Mustard Seed, the Salvation Army, the Dandelion Society and Rev. Al Tysik, to name just a few, are part of an amazing helping network that puts people first and serves them from the front lines of where they actually live — on our streets. Other volunteer groups from across our region also dedicate many hours to fundraising and other activities that help support facilities and programs that would not otherwise exist.
Did you know:
- On February 5, 2014, according to the Coalition to End Homelessness’ facility count that day, 1,167 men, women and children used emergency shelters or temporary accommodation in the Capital Region (included 70 families and 116 children)?
- On that same date, 78 people were turned away, 11 of them children.
- In October 2014 alone, Our Place served over 58,000 meals, a staggering 62% increase from the same month the previous year.
- Downtown core facilities are seeing unprecedented levels of use and operating hours are being extended to keep up with the ever increasing demand.
I hope that you will join MLA Andrew Weaver and the panel for an evening of talking about poverty, homelessness and hopeful next steps. I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday night, February 4, 2015 at 7:00 PM, David Turpin Theatre, University of Victoria.
Please bring a cash donation or non-perishable food item for Victoria’s Mustard Seed Food Bank or for Our Place.