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
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