Victoria’s mayor says a forum on the city’s shelter problem may have turned a page in relations between the city and its homeless population.
Every spring, Victoria’s winter shelters close turning dozens of people onto the streets.
It’s a chronic problem, and one that has strained relations in the city.
But Lisa Helps says she saw hope at a forum organized to find solutions to the annual crisis.
About 400 people showed up. What impressed her was that the crowd was evenly split between housed and homeless.
“I think the lesson we all learned tonight is what happens when you bring people together who wouldn’t normally be sitting together. In addition to generating solutions, we really built community.”
Helps says the city will spend the next few months reviewing proposed solutions.
Mayor impressed by who showed up
“I would say history making, and everyone there was like, ‘wow, are we really doing this?’ There was an equal number of people there housed and unhoused. And it’s the first time in the history of the city where that number of people have showed up, and where that diversity of people have showed up together.”
Helps says the crowd shared ideas in smaller groups — which city staff will type up and give to council.
But she says trust built between the communities is already a start.