Homeless in Victoria say they need help to find permanent homes

Homeless in Victoria say they need help to find permanent homes

The daily gatherings of homeless individuals along the 800 block of Pandora Street include their possessions, but their tents are gone.

“Shorty” Larose packs up her tent every morning.

“This is my home, I try to keep it clean, but right now it isn’t,” Larose said.

Larose is one of the estimated 1,500 homeless in Victoria from the 2020 point-in-time homeless count.

She had an apartment, but several years ago was evicted, since then, she’s been unable to find anything affordable.

“Let us have our houses up,” Larose said. “It’s frustrating. It’s depressing. Especially if we’re sick. I’m sick. Give us a building we can have. It’s not fair.”

The City of Vancouver is in the process of clearing out an estimated 400 tents in the Downtown Eastside, it’s the result of a court order after the fire department attended an estimated 1,000 fires since January in this tent city.

But those residents, and many living along Pandora Street including Kristian Flicker, say they have nowhere else to go.

“I just got a place in Rock Bay for the first time in two years,” Flicker said. “It’s the closest thing I can get to housing now.”

Flicker and his partner struggle with addiction, but say it would be easier with a home.

“I think everybody needs stability, and simple fact, food stability. Housing stability,” Flicker said. “And a simple fact to have friends, family, and feel loved. You know, pretty simple.”

In the early days of the pandemic, tents took up every inch of green space along Pandora.

But while the tents are gone, the issues remain, according to Grant McKenzie, communications director, Our Place Society.

“Living on the street is not a dignified place to be. I don’t think anyone should be on the street, or in parks,” McKenzie said. “They should all be in housing. But if we don’t have that housing, then that’s what you see, you see people on the street because they don’t have access to housing or shelter.”

But Victoria and Vancouver aren’t the only cities facing these issues.

There are hundreds of people unhoused in Nanaimo and other Vancouver Island communities.

Finding housing solutions may take years, but in Vancouver, for now, time is up.

The clearing out of tents, now underway, is expected to take weeks.

WATCH: Report suggests there must be a move beyond emergency solutions to prevent homelessness

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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