Homeless people living at Beacon Hill Park have somewhere to wash up.
A community group called Showers for the Unhoused installed showers without approval from the City of Victoria at the popular park on Saturday.
Rose Henry, a local activist and organizer, said the showers will go along way for the homeless, allowing them to be clean so they can attend job interviews as well as rental housing interviews or viewings.
“It’s restoring a little bit of faith and what it will do for their personal hygiene,” Henry said, later adding. “It’s very very important.”
The group had tried to hook the showers up to water but were denied because they were installed without the city’s approval.
Shea Smith, a spokesperson for Humans of Beacon Hill Park, said the city’s decision to cut off the water supply is terrible.
“It’s discouraging that we have to actually fight for the access to rights to water,” said Smith, adding. “It’s terrible that the city would take away our water supply as we get the showers here. It’s good for public health, it’s good for everyone trying to safe right now, and here we have the city taking away the water.”
Although Our Place Society have been extended, campers say they don’t feel safe leaving their belongings and need showers in the park.
Meanwhile, the city says water is still on in other areas of the park and told CHEK that staffers have tried to collaborate with the group, but have been rebuked.
“Their insistence on unilateral action leaves us little choice but to enforce the existing rules,” the city said in a statement.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps recently announced an ambitious plan to move more than 200 homeless campers indoors by the end of the year, which councillors are expected to discuss at an upcoming meeting next week.