Peer Support: What it means to me

Hilary MarksThis May, the Coalition had an opportunity to send Hilary Marks, the Co-Chair of the Social Inclusion Advisory Committee (SIAC), to the National Conference on Peer Support in Halifax. The National Conference on Peer Support is focused on peer support for those struggling with mental health challenges, but the Coalition saw the opportunity to apply that experience towards homelessness. Here’s a short post composed by Hilary on her experiences at the Conference and what the experience meant to her: Continue reading

Hidden Homeless

Not all those who are homeless sleep rough on the streets. There are many more people you don’t see. The term “hidden homelessness” refers to those who live temporarily with friends or family (couch surf) or are sleeping in cars. These people have no other option, as many were living in unsafe or inadequate housing. Continue reading

Homelessness & Brain Injury

You see a young man* walking towards you on the sidewalk. At first he appears just fine, but as you approach you notice that his steps aren’t quite as direct and sure as your own. You notice him fumbling in his pocket for a note. As you get close enough, he requests your help in words that aren’t quite clear, “can you read this for me – I’m not sure where I need to go.”

Do you stop and help? Do you shake your head and move on? Do you make assumptions about substance abuse or mental illness? Continue reading

Speakers Bureau shares real experiences of homelessness

I often go out to speak on the topic of homelessness. I can speak to the types of issues that drive homelessness in our community. These include things like low vacancy rates and high rents. I can speak to the numbers of people experiencing homelessness in our community using things like our facilities count or shelter data. I can even predict how much housing we need to break the back of homelessness in Greater Victoria.  This allows me to capture people’s mind and increase the intellectual understanding of homelessness in Victoria.

The one thing I can’t do is capture their hearts. I can’t speak to the actual experience of homelessness. Continue reading