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[Burnside/Gorge] Streetlink Ellice Street shelter | 5-storeys | Built - completed in 2010


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#21 Caramia

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 04:19 PM

Absolutely - but there was never any question of it being anything but voluntary, so why bring it up?

If you say that you have worked with street people I believe you. My experience with the street community has been more direct perhaps than someone who provides services to them, although I very much respect and appreciate the work you are doing. If you want my credentials I am happy to provide them in a PM.

What I am trying to say is that any solution has to be multi-modal - to target different groups among the population with different needs. It isn't right to represent "the street people" as wanting or not wanting something. There is no consensus there, it is not a homogeneous group. For the segment of the population who wants exactly that - a place to go, work hard, learn life skills, and be sober - that project could be a life saver - why stand in its way? I think of my friends who got off the street - many of them went tree planting, moved up North for awhile, went to stay on someone's property out of town in exchange for work, or participated in something like the Haliburton farm's volunteer opportunities. Hard work does heal the soul a bit - and sometimes people do realize that, and prefer to be able to be more than passive recipients of services.

Of course it won't be the solution for everyone, and yes, there needs to be trust built with no matter what solutions we choose (although a closer look at some of the people who were involved in the proposal would show a group that I would argue has built a fair amount of trust already).

What makes me frustrated is that people are constantly whining about how "nothing" gets done, and then when good initiatives come up, are so quick to criticize and block them. If it is a shelter, then people say we don't need shelters we need housing, if it is a place like the farm, it is criticized for taking people out of their communities, if it is a safe injection site then we need detox beds, if it is detox beds then we need housing, if it is housing then it should be located somewhere else more suited to their problems, and on and on and on... The fact is, we need all these things, and not one of these things will work for every person. The constant bickering about the details is what is slowing it down. No wonder nothing gets done.

#22 Audrey

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 09:57 PM

What makes me frustrated is that people are constantly whining about how "nothing" gets done, and then when good initiatives come up, are so quick to criticize and block them. If it is a shelter, then people say we don't need shelters we need housing, if it is a place like the farm, it is criticized for taking people out of their communities, if it is a safe injection site then we need detox beds, if it is detox beds then we need housing, if it is housing then it should be located somewhere else more suited to their problems, and on and on and on... The fact is, we need all these things, and not one of these things will work for every person. The constant bickering about the details is what is slowing it down. No wonder nothing gets done.


I agree on that frustration, but I think it comes from a genuine desire to see good things happen, while wrestling with the fact that no one solution is good enough--the issues are just too complicated, the needs are too great. We need work programs, we need detox, we need injection sites, we need shelters and we need transitional housing. We need emergency beds, psychiatric support, medical services, food banks, and social services. There aren't enough resources to see everything done properly, so there's always going to be struggles as we argue about the best way to use the resources that are there. (And don't forget NIMBY shooting down projects left and right.) I argue that the farm is a poor idea because I just don't see it being embraced by enough people.

But then, I'm a cynic, though I try not to be. I see way too many people simplifying the problems of the homeless into, "just give those lazy bastards a job." I realize that you aren't one of those people, but I'm worried that wrenching fragile people out of the only tolerant community they have may not work. At Our Place, I see some residents struggling even to adjust to sleeping indoors.

I argue for measures that allow the street community to build up trust, make changes at a healthy pace, and also allow people a sustainable chance of success. I'm afraid that a detox farm would have a high failure rate. If something like that goes in, I would certainly hope for the best and support it, but if the money has to go one way or another, I'd rather see more supported transitional housing.

#23 Caramia

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 11:27 AM

There is a huge amount of political will right now to get some things done. What I would like to see is for a few first successful projects to push through. Although yes, there are limited resources, I think that public approval is the most limited of all the resources. In the current political environment, money can be found. What we need to be careful of is that potential resources don't get gun shy due to the fickle nature of that approval. And we shouldn't assume that because an organization is able to come up with resources to help create a detox retreat that the same organization is able to come up with resources for a shelter or housing, or vice versa - to do so would be an oversimplification of the landscape of aid.

When you look at Queenswood - consider how many people who, struggling with drug addiction or personal demons, have found spiritual strength through their programs. Regardless if you think that in theory what they offer would work - the fact is, in practice it has and does. They are first rate in what they do. But asking them to create a shelter downtown would be totally inappropriate, a misuse of the strengths of their organization. Just as putting Rev Al in a hard hat or a white coat would be a misuse of his strengths. Yes we need the builders and the doctors - but we also need the anachronistic solutions. And as the solutions must be diverse, so too is the street population - the Our Place crowd is one segment of that - but not by a long shot the whole picture. There have to be places for people to sleep when they just need a bed for a night. And there have to be places for people to retreat, when they decide they need to get away and to begin the long climb up.

What we desperately need is to start to say "Yes" to projects all over that spectrum. We need to start by fighting our own cynicism, and start supporting the strengths of all the organizations that are trying to stand up to do their part. We need to realize that each one may have avenues towards resources that might not be at the table otherwise, and we need to stand together. This shelter, and this farm idea share one common component - they are examples of how solutions are emerging, and how the community still reflexively says no to them. We need to say "Yes" to projects, ESPECIALLY in our own neighbourhoods, and our own backyards, and to take a "how can we make this work" approach, not a "How will this fail" approach.

#24 Nominalis

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 01:24 PM

I know I'm going to offend some by saying this but our homeless are just the casualties of the War on Drugs. The onus has always been on the addicted and mentally ill to have a super-pure bloodstream and then they just may be able to get some help with the problems that led them to the streets in the first place. It's expecting way way too much considering that it's so often a bunch of tobacco, caffiene and pill junkys who're setting these lofty expectations on those who have lost the ability to cope.

The rehab recidivism rate is 90 to 100%, maybe it's time we lowered the bar some and gave these poor victims a break. Perfection is a goal with built-in failure.

We can have as many meetings, committees and task forces as money can buy but until we stop judging the very people we're trying to help by using biblical style morals and expecting them to emulate Jesus I can only see that more will slip through the cracks because it's seems easier to watch people die on the streets than it is to let go of the Drug War propaganda and treat these people like fully equal humans, even if they do take a different drug than you.

Homelessness is not about substance abuse, it's about governments waging war on citizens who take the wrong drugs. Institutionalized destruction of a persons self-esteem does put-up significant barriers towards maintaining the basics in life.
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#25 Audrey

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 09:00 PM

We can have as many meetings, committees and task forces as money can buy but until we stop judging the very people we're trying to help by using biblical style morals and expecting them to emulate Jesus I can only see that more will slip through the cracks because it's seems easier to watch people die on the streets than it is to let go of the Drug War propaganda and treat these people like fully equal humans, even if they do take a different drug than you.


I don't think anyone who really thinks that hitting someone over the head with a bible is going to fix addictions, homelessness or mental illness would last a week doing outreach work. It's frustrating that people simplify the problems of the homeless, but sometimes I think that's better than being totally unaware of them. Many people don't even factor in mental illness, which is depressing, as it's a major reason why folks turn to drugs in the first place.

As I have mentioned in another thread, I'm happy to invite people into the new Our Place building to see what facilities we have. If you're curious about homeless issues, it's a good way to see some of the things that are offered to the same folks who use Streetlink.

(Okay, I swear, I'm going to post on topics besides homelessness one of these days... honest.)

#26 Holden West

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 06:46 PM

Column: Action, not talk, will house the homeless

Carolyn Heiman, Times Colonist
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I guess we don't really want to solve the homeless crisis after all.

For a moment, it seemed we did.

The City of Victoria boldly stepped forward with a hefty report that outlined the scope and complexity of the problem. It did so at the risk of implying it owned all of the problem.

[...]
cheiman@tc.Canwest.Com

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008
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#27 Mike K.

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 07:03 PM

The new location is even more devoid of eyes and ears by night than Wharf street was twenty years ago. The move could very well create Victoria's own downtown eastside, an area where only individuals with housing and drug issues will congregate and where the average citizen will rarely pass through (in fact that's pretty much how the area is now -- a haven for pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers. Now we're adding a shelter into the mix?).

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#28 G-Man

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 07:25 PM

I think that the shelter will add eyes and ears into an area that is currently home to a lot of crime. The people that are shooting up and stealing things are not the same people that stay in the shelter.

#29 Mike K.

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 09:16 PM

I've seen individuals who congregate around Streetlink sell drugs, get into fights, drink in public, etc. The immediate area can be intimidating even during the day.

If Streetlink only attracted responsible individuals down on their luck we wouldn't have a problem. But since it also attracts the seedier side of street life (perhaps not into its confines but within its immediate area) we could very well be asking for trouble by removing both genuine homeless individuals and seedier street elements into a bleak industrial area.

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#30 G-Man

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 09:20 PM

Currently Streetlink is a destination area because of many things one is the Shelter but there are also the large amount of vacant lots for druggies hang out in and still are close to the needle exchange, douglas and yates to sell/pick up.

The new location will not attract this same group of people that cannnot go in the shelter. Why is a junkie going to walk all the way out to Rock Bay away from his dealer to hang in front of a shelter. If anything they will continue to hang out in the vacant lots around the present streetlink location

#31 Holden West

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 12:39 PM

Vote on new homeless shelter puts councillors in a quandary

Carolyn Heiman, Times Colonist
Published: Friday, March 07, 2008

"How can I sit in a nonjudgmental way (at a public hearing) when I'm tethered to the deal?" asked Coun. Pam Madoff, who voted against the staff-recommended process. "What are the opportunities for consultation? It will come down to the colour of the building."


Land deals are allowed to be done in camera to avoid speculation, "but there was no particular reason to reach these decisions in private and before a public consultative process," said Coun. Geoff Young, who was the other politician to reject the process.

Young said the decision to keep the discussion around Ellice Street Park in camera was driven by the province's process for making public funding announcements.


"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#32 gumgum

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 06:12 PM

Process flawed on Ellice Street shelter, councillors say
By Keith Vass - Victoria News - March 12, 2008


Community has no plans to pursue counter-petition

Victoria city councillors berated a deal that kept secret plans to move the StreetLink shelter to Ellice Street, saying the process should have been done in the public eye, with public input.

Despite their concerns, council still voted to move the controversial project along to the next phase. They asked staff to prepare a bylaw removing the property at 525-545 Ellice St. from the city’s parks registry and giving permission to the Victoria Cool Aid Society to develop the 80-bed facility.

At Thursday’s committee-of-the-whole meeting, Coun. Geoff Young blasted conditions in the memorandum of understanding between the city and the province to fund the shelter that kept the plans under wraps until they were announced Jan. 22.

He said there was no reason for council to deal with the plans in camera, as no land was changing hands. He criticized it for leaving public consultation to be carried out as an afterthought.

“We should either say we’re going to do it and forget the public or do consultation up front,” Young said.

Coun. Pam Madoff said she’s had sleepless nights over the proposal and can’t see how she is supposed to appear neutral in evaluating it when the city is already tied to it.

After a Feb. 18 public meeting with the Burnside-Gorge Community Association, she found herself very concerned by the process.

“To me, it didn’t sound like consultation,” she said.

While Madoff and Young were the only councillors to vote against moving the process forward, others expressed concern.

“I do regret that an effective consultation process did not take place before that (announcement),” said Coun. Bea Holland.

Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe said despite concerns about the process, a new shelter is urgently needed to replace the current “inadequate” StreetLink building.

The bylaw removing the park from the registry could be opposed through a counter-petition. If 10 per cent of the city’s electors, or about 6,500 people, sign against the bylaw, a referendum would be triggered.

Paul Gerrard, president of the Burnside-Gorge Neighbourhood Association said there are no plans to pursue a counter-petition.

On the other hand, he said the community continues to feel shut out from the process and would like to be involved in discussions about other potential sites.

“It’s just a steam-rollered process. The community is just a bystander in this,” Gerrard said.

kvass@vicnews.com

...

#33 Rob Randall

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 10:11 AM

The formal Community Association public meeting on the shelter will probably occur mid-May.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

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#34 collywobbles

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 09:09 AM

Cool Aid will host an informal public open house, with preliminary drawings of the building, this Wednesday at the Ramada Inn at Gorge and Balfour. There's an open house from 5 to 7 p.m., and a panel presentation to follow.

This is an open house, not a formal CALUC meeting. That is now scheduled for May 12.

#35 Rob Randall

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 06:54 AM

Open House and Community Meeting
on proposed
Ellice Street Shelter and Transitional Housing
Wednesday, April 30 5 - 8 PM
Panel Presentation at 7PM addressing safety and security isssues

Ramada Victoria, 123 Gorge Rd. East
Conference Room C

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#36 Rob Randall

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 11:27 PM

Open House held last night at the Ramada Inn on Gorge Rd. East.



Ellice St. view. Note the courtyard entrance to the right:



Right-hand side of the building showing a side view of the courtyard:


"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#37 Nparker

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 08:32 AM

For what it is, not too bad at all.

#38 gumgum

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 07:58 AM

Neighbours skeptical of shelter plan
Meeting hears proponents say that Rock Bay site is a good location
Bill Cleverley, Times Colonist
Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2008


#39 Rob Randall

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 01:52 PM

I wrote about Monday's community meeting on the shelter plan here.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#40 martini

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 11:28 AM

I'm trying to understand the city's logic in declassifying Ellice Street Park, and then putting a LEEDS standard building on it.:confused:
As I find information I will post it, but in the meantime I am interested in an open discussion around the issue.

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