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.


Anonymous said...

My friend in Vernon with the help of her Church have started a campaign this Christmas to fill backpacks with new usable items targeted for homeless people, I think this is great, my friend is a quad, with debilitating pain and lives in a chair. I looked after her in a group home for 6 years. Hopefully this will help a little bit to make it a kinder Christmas for the homeless in Vernon. Merry Christmas to you and yours

Anonymous said...

I missed the screening in Kamloops... was there a copy of the documentary left in the community? or is there another way to access it?