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Victoria homelessness issues


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#41 Holden West

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 10:23 AM

12 step and AA work for some people despite the "submitting to a higher power" stuff that turns some off. Dismissing it as worthless is strange. I suspect someone you know had a bad experience with it so you figure no-one else could succeed with it. There are good groups and bad groups. Medication can help, but usually counselling is beneficial to get at the reason why someone is killing themselves with alcohol. Sometimes it's self-medication to cover mental or physical pain, sometimes it's genetic. Some can quit cold turkey, some could use medicine, some counselling and/or therapy, some religion or AA. To each his own. Yes, the government could do more to help. There is no magic bullet solution.
"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

#42 Rorschach

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 11:07 AM

No 12-step program can provide specifics to demonstrate their program is effective. None. If they were as effective as people believe, they would be screaming about their successes and readily providing specific information. However, they have no such proof. Their claims of success can't be substantiated. AA's internal documents that have been disclosed show a 5% success rate. Alcoholics who seek no treatment at all recover 5% of the time according to AA.

I repeat -- you get the same result with AA treatment as you get without it. It has no medical or practical value treating alcoholism. It has nothing to do with me or my experiences. Let's say for the sake of argument that I'm as bad a person as Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin and let's get all personal attacks and attacks on the source out of the way. Such an attack makes no difference on the success rate of AA. If Adolf Hitler was telling you about the low success rate of AA you would still discover the reality of that fact yourself. Hitler believed that 1+1=2. Do you question that 1+1=2 because Hitler believed that too?

Counseling isn't something that can be imposed. Most of these homeless people are irrational. The nature of their affliction is such that they do not have the ability to do what is in their best interests. Counseling can probably help everyone. But how could you get the law to impose a sincere commitment to counseling? Ever heard that you can't argue with a drunk? Why would you believe you could counsel one? After a few months listening to non-sequitors, what counselor wants to continue such "treatment" anyway?

With the drugs available, the alcoholism could be cured medically with a regular shot of an effective medicine. After problem #1 is solved, then you can move on to the next layer which may involve some counseling.

#43 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 12:30 PM

I'm in complete agreement with Ror.
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#44 m0nkyman

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 01:55 PM

Well, to be frank, I'm OK with the drunks. They are not the problem. Very few of them are breaking into people's homes to get a bottle of mouthwash.

The meth and crack and heroin addicts that are stealing to support their habit are the problem. They're typically younger, more desperate and they're meaner. Them, I could see forcing into detox beds... except we don't have enough detox beds for even the people begging for help getting off drugs. :(

Which is why I want to scream when the politicos start talking about wasting millions on a safe injection site. Spend the money on detox programs, and post-detox support programs!!!!!

#45 gumgum

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 06:04 PM

The real issue is that every mental disability, (caused by genetics, alcohol, drugs...whatever) is as unique as a finger print. Anybody in the mental health field will tell you that. If it were as simple as taking a pill, it would have been done by now.
And I gotta say too that I have a real problem with the term "bum".

#46 Icebergalley

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 06:39 PM

We have nothing to fear but fear itself...

Do you shop in stores that have signs posted "Private Property etc..."?

I don't..


Sunday » April 15 » 2007

Abusing the poor doesn't make city safe
'No-loitering' pettiness a symbol of our failure to maintain a civil society

Iain Hunter
Times Colonist


Saturday, April 14, 2007


What is the matter with the shopkeepers and business professionals in Victoria? When will they learn that their taxes and licences don't entitle them to boss everyone else around?

When will Mayor Alan Lowe tell them to get a life?

There's an unpleasant atmosphere downtown and it isn't caused by the people squatting on the sidewalk or sleeping in doorways. It's the people who own those doorways and think they own the sidewalk beyond, as well.

Now the Downtown Victoria Business Association has distributed ugly signs to members and they're up all over the place saying "private property" and warning people not to loiter, camp, cycle, skateboard or deposit "chattel goods" -- which is the politically correct way of describing the backpacks, blankets, garbage bags and dogs -- that homeless people and other squatters carry with them.

Some of these signs are posted outside the Greater Victoria Public Library, a place which claims not to have enough room for all its books and now, apparently, has decided there's not enough room for all members of the public who might want to read them, either.

One of these might be David Johnston. Yup, him again. This unusual character, who says he's addicted to justice, intends to camp in the library courtyard unless or until he's arrested for the umpteenth time for sleeping outside where others think he shouldn't.

If he's thrown in jail again because the law says the rain-soaked, cold ground is too good for him, he'll stop eating as he did for 36 days last year.

"I will see these signs taken down or I will die," he declared last week.

A lot of people around town who've had to put up with Johnston's nonsense assume he's a nut. At one of his court appearances the lawyer for the Crown suggested he be given a psychiatric assessment or at least be ordered to get counselling. The judge, to his credit, rejected the idea.

That judge was Robert Bauman of the B.C. Supreme Court. Before releasing Johnston on bail, Bauman described him as a man of principle and a spiritual man who can be trusted to keep his word. Those ready to have this pest thrown in the slammer again -- where he threatens to starve to death if he has to -- should remember that.

Bauman obviously realizes that clothes don't make the man. Neither do whiskers, doing without shelter, money or sex or eating garbage.

Johnston's not dirty, repulsive or violent. He's not a threat to anyone despite the Crown's contention that his actions amount to criminal contempt.

He believes that everyone has a right to sleep outdoors, especially if he or she has nowhere else to go, and cites God as his witness. And who's confident enough to say the courts won't agree with him if the charter challenge issued on behalf of Victoria's homeless last year goes ahead?

I can almost hear his worship's chain rattling. I know how someone bedding down somewhere in the open in his town must concern him. I know he must be concerned that others -- with the ground threatening to warm up -- might get the same idea. But what is the point of incarcerating for seven months, as a court was driven to by Johnston's inactivities, someone who'd really rather be left alone, outside, in God's great world, to live by his own devices? What is the point of treating this gentle soul as a criminal?

I envy Johnston his world. It sounds much nicer than that designed by the Downtown Victoria Business Association: No loitering, no cycling, no skateboarding -- no fun.

"We are challenged with the number of people who are on our streets," says Ken Kelly, the association's general manager. Yes, and many of those who are on "our" streets are even more challenged -- they haven't anywhere else to go.

"When the shelters run out of beds," says Kelly, "we end up finding some of these people in our doorways." Yes, and did anyone think of offering "these people" a little help? A bench, perhaps, or a tarp?

"All of us has a vested interest in a clean, safe and welcoming downtown," Kelly declares. Welcoming for whom? Mr. Kelly. Welcoming for whom?

Shopkeepers don't like stepping over bodies when they open their shops in the morning or close them at night. If they don't think "these people" are clean, safe or welcoming, presumably they find them dirty, dangerous and offensive and believe that their paying customers find them so, too.

So what must tourists, including those ready to brave this nuisance to spend a little money in Victoria shops, think of the "private property" signs that themselves are so unwelcoming?

What better place to loiter than the courtyard of our "public" library? It's a wonderful place to sit with a book and a sandwich. Are only people with briefcases and Starbucks coffee cups to be allowed that pleasure?

Damn it, downtown's for people. All of them.

cruachan@shaw.ca

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007








Copyright © 2007 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.

#47 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 06:43 PM

The homeless idiots should just go **** off already.
<p><span style="font-size:12px;"><em><span style="color:rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;">"I don’t need a middle person in my pizza slice transaction" <strong>- zoomer, April 17, 2018</strong></span></em></span>

#48 aastra

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 06:50 PM

There's an unpleasant atmosphere downtown and it isn't caused by the people squatting on the sidewalk or sleeping in doorways. It's the people who own those doorways and think they own the sidewalk beyond, as well.


Mr. Hunter deserves some sort of award for this gem, don't you think?

...someone who'd really rather be left alone, outside, in God's great world, to live by his own devices...


Er, on private property?

#49 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 06:52 PM

^ Hunter's column was one of the weirdest I've ever read. Period. Just plain weird.
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#50 Holden West

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 06:52 PM

^Yeah, I had the same feeling. I bet he busted a blood vessel writing it.
"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

#51 aastra

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 07:04 PM

Shopkeepers don't like stepping over bodies when they open their shops in the morning or close them at night.


I mean, come on. Would Mr. Hunter like stepping over bodies to get in and out of his home?

Where on earth did people get this idea that social problems are supposed to be rife in the downtown core? If this stuff was happening anywhere else in the CRD other than downtown, people would be screaming bloody murder.

#52 TheVisionary

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 07:13 PM

We have nothing to fear but fear itself...

Do you shop in stores that have signs posted "Private Property etc..."?

I don't..


Sunday » April 15 » 2007

Abusing the poor doesn't make city safe
'No-loitering' pettiness a symbol of our failure to maintain a civil society

Iain Hunter
Times Colonist


Saturday, April 14, 2007


What is the matter with the shopkeepers and business professionals in Victoria? When will they learn that their taxes and licences don't entitle them to boss everyone else around?

When will Mayor Alan Lowe tell them to get a life?

There's an unpleasant atmosphere downtown and it isn't caused by the people squatting on the sidewalk or sleeping in doorways. It's the people who own those doorways and think they own the sidewalk beyond, as well.

Now the Downtown Victoria Business Association has distributed ugly signs to members and they're up all over the place saying "private property" and warning people not to loiter, camp, cycle, skateboard or deposit "chattel goods" -- which is the politically correct way of describing the backpacks, blankets, garbage bags and dogs -- that homeless people and other squatters carry with them.

Some of these signs are posted outside the Greater Victoria Public Library, a place which claims not to have enough room for all its books and now, apparently, has decided there's not enough room for all members of the public who might want to read them, either.

One of these might be David Johnston. Yup, him again. This unusual character, who says he's addicted to justice, intends to camp in the library courtyard unless or until he's arrested for the umpteenth time for sleeping outside where others think he shouldn't.

If he's thrown in jail again because the law says the rain-soaked, cold ground is too good for him, he'll stop eating as he did for 36 days last year.

"I will see these signs taken down or I will die," he declared last week.

A lot of people around town who've had to put up with Johnston's nonsense assume he's a nut. At one of his court appearances the lawyer for the Crown suggested he be given a psychiatric assessment or at least be ordered to get counselling. The judge, to his credit, rejected the idea.

That judge was Robert Bauman of the B.C. Supreme Court. Before releasing Johnston on bail, Bauman described him as a man of principle and a spiritual man who can be trusted to keep his word. Those ready to have this pest thrown in the slammer again -- where he threatens to starve to death if he has to -- should remember that.

Bauman obviously realizes that clothes don't make the man. Neither do whiskers, doing without shelter, money or sex or eating garbage.

Johnston's not dirty, repulsive or violent. He's not a threat to anyone despite the Crown's contention that his actions amount to criminal contempt.

He believes that everyone has a right to sleep outdoors, especially if he or she has nowhere else to go, and cites God as his witness. And who's confident enough to say the courts won't agree with him if the charter challenge issued on behalf of Victoria's homeless last year goes ahead?

I can almost hear his worship's chain rattling. I know how someone bedding down somewhere in the open in his town must concern him. I know he must be concerned that others -- with the ground threatening to warm up -- might get the same idea. But what is the point of incarcerating for seven months, as a court was driven to by Johnston's inactivities, someone who'd really rather be left alone, outside, in God's great world, to live by his own devices? What is the point of treating this gentle soul as a criminal?

I envy Johnston his world. It sounds much nicer than that designed by the Downtown Victoria Business Association: No loitering, no cycling, no skateboarding -- no fun.

"We are challenged with the number of people who are on our streets," says Ken Kelly, the association's general manager. Yes, and many of those who are on "our" streets are even more challenged -- they haven't anywhere else to go.

"When the shelters run out of beds," says Kelly, "we end up finding some of these people in our doorways." Yes, and did anyone think of offering "these people" a little help? A bench, perhaps, or a tarp?

"All of us has a vested interest in a clean, safe and welcoming downtown," Kelly declares. Welcoming for whom? Mr. Kelly. Welcoming for whom?

Shopkeepers don't like stepping over bodies when they open their shops in the morning or close them at night. If they don't think "these people" are clean, safe or welcoming, presumably they find them dirty, dangerous and offensive and believe that their paying customers find them so, too.

So what must tourists, including those ready to brave this nuisance to spend a little money in Victoria shops, think of the "private property" signs that themselves are so unwelcoming?

What better place to loiter than the courtyard of our "public" library? It's a wonderful place to sit with a book and a sandwich. Are only people with briefcases and Starbucks coffee cups to be allowed that pleasure?

Damn it, downtown's for people. All of them.

mailto:cruachan@shaw.ca

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007








Copyright © 2007 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ugghh! I was purposefully staying away from VV for 4-5 months until curiosity cause me to take a "small peak". What do I find? *edit - at the very least keep your language civilised please*,

I really don't give a @#$%^&*! If the annoying homeless little bug wants to hunger strike himself to death in jail, let him. His problem is solved and the rest of us won't have to endure his rant about "justice, fairness, civilities", etc. I want the rules enforced ruthlessly, arbitrarily, and in a hard assed manner.

#53 m0nkyman

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 07:13 PM

This story enraged me like few others. 'Course I live downtown. And have a store downtown. And have spent six months on the HIV cocktail because one of these street people, who has Hep-C and HIV positive, jabbed me with a used needle... only to be let out the next day.

Yeah. But for god's sake we should let them sleep in our doorway, or we're heartless bastards.

To hell with that.

Tell you what Mr. Hunter. Why don't you round up a bunch of junkies and invite them to sleep on your front lawn. We'll see how you and your neighbours feel about it after a week.

#54 TheVisionary

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 07:32 PM

there is a large population of couch surfers and homeless with car, who are hard to identify because for all appearances generally look very functional. this demographic has some pride intact and may not go to food banks or public showers, but rely on a friend for some amenities, yet has no property of their own. those no overnight parking signs at beacon hill arn't there for decoration!

perceptions of the homeless can be difficult, especially trying to explain to children. there is this overwhelming tendancy to explain away all street people as junkies. when I'm in town with my kids, which is pretty often, if we see someone panning who has a dog, or more rarely a cat, someone trying to sell their paintings or crafts, some selling street newz, people toting around a tonne of recyclables, I tell them that these are people who are trying to make some effective change in their lives and are publically showing it by not imbiding in b&e and other sorts of thefts. these are the people that should be empowered and not swept up with the severe junkie criminals that have no capacity left for personal or private respect.

and, hi all, first post! I'm not sure if any of these things have been said in other threads, will slowly wind my way around this interesting pocket of town.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wow, 4-5 months away from vibrant victoria and it's still the same news and chatter about the poor wretches.

Let the less well off amongst us collect drink containers or sell their art and other wares. They are being somewhat productive. Many people and myself, really have issues with the mental , drug addicts, thieves who steal, damage private property, disturb the neighbourhood, etc.

I onced visited a female friend for some "quality time" and parked my car by View Towers. I came back to my car and found human spit and waste paper sprinkled all over the back trunk. There were a few rough looking street people in the nearby vacant lot arguing loudly.

I didn't actually catch anyone doing this to my car because I was "busy". Seeing the garbage and spit on my car cause a moment of instant rage to course through me. I had the urge to pummel the wacko who spit on my car because he's behaving in socially unacceptable way, uncool way. I don't look favorably upon *edit - at the very least keep your language civilised please*, pissing, spitting on other people's private property in public.

#55 gumgum

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 07:40 PM

Wow, 4-5 months later and the same old Visionary trying to prove that he's cool and intelligent.

#56 LJ

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 08:35 PM

Enabling drug addicts with drug injection sites and the like, not prosecuting them etc is not going to cure any drug addiction problem.

As most recovered addicts will state - the only way they got off drugs was to "bottom out" and then seek help. We as a society must have that help available to them when they need it. That means removing them from their present environment and treating them medically and psychologically so that they don't want to return to their previous lifestyle.

Then give them training so that they can earn their own way in society. With the present jobless rates so low this is a perfect time to do this.

As far as the addicts who haven't yet bottomed out and are committing crimes - they should be sentenced to rehab - 6 months, 1 year whatever it takes. And they need to be detained in a facility so that they do not have the ability to go out and create more havoc. When they have detoxed and can think more clearly the intervention will be that much more successful.

This would mean building rehab centers - away from the downtown core, to house these individuals. This would have the effect of cleaning up the streets and reducing crime so the cost of the rehab facilities would be well worth it.

This does not apply to those with mental illnesses. We need to house these individuals in facilities that can deal with their special demons, rather than let them roam the streets endangering themselves and others. The government should never have closed Essondale and other facilities like it, all they did was download the problems to the municipalities who do not have the ability to deal with it. This is a national issue which requires a national policy.
Life's a journey......so roll down the window and enjoy the breeze.

#57 Holden West

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 08:47 PM

We need to do this, we need to do that...

But who's willing to have their taxes raised to pay for it?









[crickets chirping]
"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

#58 Caramia

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 08:53 PM

While you were reading did you also notice a moderator asking people to make sure to keep things respectful?
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#59 Caramia

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 09:11 PM

I am.

I also support safe injection sites, for two reasons - first, as far as bang for your buck, they are a winner. They have been proven to reduce the spread of HIV and Hep C in the community, which in the end affects, and costs all of us. That alone should be sufficient imo. Second, they have been proven as the single most successful first contact points for addicts who are looking for a way out. Our current system is a scattered effort - police and health nurses going to where the addicts are in order to connect them to help -- very expensive. This way they are around professionals who are able to take advantage of windows of opportunities to steer people off drugs.

However, I also agree with LJ that without somewhere to steer them it is a wasted effort. And I absolutely agree that detaining people who are committing crimes because of drugs is a good idea. What I have found with addicts is that unfortunately, they don't hit rock bottom and then start swiming up. They hit rock bottom and then they bounce and bounce and bounce, hitting it over and over until some hook or path or help arrives. And it is during the bouncy period that they do the most harm.

And yeah, alcoholism is sad but someone who is running from inner demons, be they situation or mental health related will just find another way to escape if put on a pill. I wish it were that easy, but from my depressingly extensive experience with addicted love ones, it never is.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#60 gumgum

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Posted 15 April 2007 - 09:12 PM

Sorry. Read his other posts and you'll understand my frustration.

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