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. That is why the events over the last few weeks featuring our newest members of our Speakers Bureau are so important to our organisation. One of our goals here at the Coalition is to try and convey to the public what it means to experience homelessness. What are the circumstances that can put someone into that kind of situation and what it means to face that kind of struggle on a day to day basis.
The Speakers Bureau allow us to do that. It is made up of individuals who have experienced homelessness and want to share their story. Through funding provided by the United Way, the Coalition has provided training so these individuals can speak publicly about their personal experiences – putting a face to homelessness.
So I while I might be able to capture people’s minds, these individuals will capture their hearts. If you want to learn more about how to book one of our Speakers Bureau members please visit our website: Speakers Bureau