Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ordering a DVD Copy of 'The Way Home'

There have been some queries as to how people can get a copy of the new work in progress documentary film 'The Way Home.'

If you or your organisation are interested in purchasing a copy of 'The Way Home' please click on the above image and print the document. All monies raised through DVD sales will go directly to the filmmakers.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Penticton Screening

Our screening of "The Way Home" in Penticton took place on Wednesday evening, December 3rd.

A big issue that was discussed after the film was the "Not in My Backyard" syndrome. People were concerned that when social housing, supportive housing or transitional housing come to a neighbourhood, there is often a negative reaction from some in the community. There was consensus that everyone shoould speak out to support these facilitities. Community leaders (especially elected officials) have a special responsibility to be courageous and respectfully oppose those who fear these important initiatives.

We pointed out that the choice is not between social housing in your neighbourhood on the one hand and stability on the other. Rather, the choice is between providing homes for those who need them (and the support for them to be succesful in those homes) or the instability and inhumanity of homelessness that affects every community in the province. Homelessness will not disappear from our neighbourhoods if we ignore it and simply wish it away.

Other issues brought up were the challenge people (especially seniors,) have getting support from the Ministry of Employment and Income Assisitance, and the problems faced by those living in manufactured homes as landlords raise rents and sell off land for development.

The next leg of the tour will be in late January. Watch this blog for our schedule.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Homeless Film Tour Begins in Kamloops and Kelowna

The first leg of 'The Way Home' film tour has begun this week in Kamloops and Kelowna. People have been very moved by the movie. The issues examined have resonated with everyone who attended. Many have commented that the film is depressing but an accurate and realistic portrayal of the struggles of homeless people in BC today.

In Kamloops, a young woman who was a student talked about her feelings of guilt. She worries that because she lives on a limited income and resides in a low rent apartment, people who have less money than she has can't find a place to live. And she worries that this is a pattern across the province.

A young man who had experienced homelessness thought the film was a realistic portrayal of living on the street.

One man expressed the opinion that municipalities should have the responsiblity and power to create social housing because they are closeset to and understand the problems the best. We agreed but suggested that when senior govermnents provide resources to municipalities there should be a set of principles they must follow in the delivery of housing and services -- the Canada Health Act model.

In Kelowna, reaction was similar. People are looking forward to the opening of a new building in which the Willow project will provide transitional services.

An aboriginal woman spoke movingly and thoughtfully about the reality that aboriginal people are much more likely to be homeless. She expressed her outrage that despite the fact that aboriginal title has not been ceded in most of BC and therefore aboriginal people are potentially wealthy, they still suffer more than the broader population.

There was an excellent discussion, and consensus, that mental health services should be community based. People strongly agree that mental health issues are best dealt with the support of family, community and services providers working together.

In both towns people asked again and again what they could do to help end the crisis of homelessness in BC. We recommend that they demand of federal, provincial and municipal governments that they treat the homelessness crisis as a priority. We also suggested that they work with the Community Advocates for Little Mountain (CALM) who organise 'Stands For Housing' (Saturday afternoon demonstrations to end homelessness on street corners across the province.) Their contact information is

More than 65 people attended the screening in Kamloops and more than 75 in Kelowna.

Tonight we screen the film in Penticton at the Okanagan College Lecture Theatre at 7pm. We hope to see you there.

Monday, December 1, 2008

New Film on Homelessness in BC- The Way Home

Dear Friend,

Today, between 10,000 and 15,000 British Columbians are homeless. They are our neighbours, our sisters and brothers, our sons and daughters.

Last year I traveled to 22 towns and cities across BC and spoke with hundreds of homeless people, service providers and local government officials. Two young film makers, Kevin Fitzgerald and Louvens Remy, followed the tour and did hundreds of hours of additional filming. The result, “The Way Home,” is a moving, thoughtful and informative film. We promised then to return to each of the towns we filmed in to show the movie, we are keeping that commitment.

British Columbians are caring and decent. We want to work together to end homelessness. This film showing is a chance for us to learn more about homelessness, and to speak with one another about what we can do to make our province a better place for every British Columbian.

I look forward to seeing you there.

David Chudnovsky
MLA Vancouver-Kensington

December 1st: Kamloops- 7pm Henry Grube Centre, 245 Kitchener
December 2nd: Kelowna- 7pm, Habitat 248 Leon Ave
December 3rd: Penticton- 7pm, Okanagan College, Lecture Theatre, 583 Duncan Ave.

Please check back for detailed reports on each of these movie screenings.

Carole James Introduces Homelessness Crisis Bill

Carole James, Leader of the Opposition, introduced a bill to deal with British Columbia's homelessness crisis on November 27th in the Legislature. The full text of the bill follows:

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia,
enacts as follows:
1 “Minister” means the Minister of Forests and Range
“the plan” means the five-year plan referred to in section 1
Establishment of a five-year plan for the elimination of homelessness
2 (1) The Minister must establish a comprehensive five-year plan to resolve the crisis of homelessness in British
(2) The plan must have annual targets and timelines for the reduction of the number of homeless people in British Columbia.
(3) The plan must address the problem of homelessness both in rural and urban areas of British Columbia.
(4) The Auditor General must review annually the targets, timelines, and results of the Minister’s plan, and report his or her findings to the Legislative Assembly.
Coming into force
3 This Act comes into force on the date of Royal Assent