Blogs by Patrick Joesph Schnerch
9/6/2010 3:58:23 AM
I heard a comment that Victoria is tired hearing about the homeless. Apparently, 20 years of studies, reports and money wasted innappropriately did not do the job. It is apparrent that the public doesn't know enough. Wait till they get a hold on me.
Nowhere to Go, but Down
The year 2010 was an absolute mess. It started actually back on October 30th, 2009 which was the ceremony for Olympic Torch Relay originating in Victoria, BC, Canada on its longest distance for the relay in Olympic history. What was supposed to be a glorious time in Victoria was met by protestors opposing the Games for the sake of our most vulnerable and the fact that the land being used was stolen from our aboriginal people.
The aftermath was a poison statement by Harry Bloy the Burnaby-Lougheed Liberal MLA that the protestors were nothing more than “terrorists with limited intellect”. This was said in the BC Legislature etched in stone on permanent record.
He was annoyed of the interruption and commotion of the protestors when the children’s choir started to sing. He stated that the marbles thrown into the street could have caused a stampede of the horses causing bodily harm to police or the public. Bloy said he had no problems with peaceful demonstrations for he respects the rights to speech as he also claimed that this is his right also.
I am a humanitarian who believes in fairness, respect and justice. I am torn between protests and rallies for they seem to always be targeted in a negative matter which does not support the cause, but tarnishes the reasons behind this opposition.
I am also in protest for human lives that are being lost on our streets due to the neglect, ignorance and discrimination of our most vulnerable which includes a very large margin such as our aboriginal people, seniors and homeless only to mention a few. A hockey puck in the net has more value than the loss of a human life on East Hastings Street in Vancouver or Douglas Street in Victoria.
Bloy seems to be more interested in monetary values, image and status rather than the well-being of our neighbours. Not once did I hear anything about jeopardizing the lives of the mentally ill, addicted and homeless in order for Vancouver to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Billions of dollars were dumped into the Olympics while millions of dollars were cut from education, health and we are in a housing crisis during a recession.
What is more important, a child carrying an Olympic Torch or a senior receiving adequate care to insure a life of dignity in their golden years? Our people have paid their dues; they deserve much more from our governments to prevent a total deterioration to all of our social systems. Our governments are more interested in a supposed sixteen days of glory consisting of bobsleds, skates and hockey sticks rather than the integrity and wellbeing of our aboriginal communities, the ill and homeless.
Bloy believes that I have a limited intellect. You don’t see me spending billions of dollars that I don’t have. Our governments have gold medals swirling around their heads and impossible dreams for our future. The Olympics are visional as having a monumental return for our economy, world recognition and indescribable benefits’ to this province and country.
During those sixteen days of supposed glory, I would like to see the national body count of those who died which were mentally ill, addicted and homeless in this part of the so-called civilized world. Suicides, illness, exposure or drug overdoses are not considered as important issues. My brothers and sisters are dying on our streets and I am supposed to be sorry because a couple of people missed the opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch. I feel no shame for my beliefs and I am very disappointed that Harry Bloy, Liberal MLA seems to believe that I am intellectually inferior and should be ashamed of myself for what I believe in. Fat wallets don’t mean a thing when we die, we are all the same.
I don’t physically attend demonstrations or rallies. I use a more lethal form of opposition. I document the truth, publish it and release it for the entire world to see. I pay for production of the book series out of my own pocket and all profits go to charity to aid them in providing temporary and affordable housing to those who would otherwise become homeless.
As this is going on, there has been a serious cut to the mental health field which includes the closing of beds, laid off nurses, case workers and even addiction councilors. All across the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) system, millions of dollars have been cut from treatment and services to keep them from going over their budget.
Now the province has also made severe cuts to legal assistance for those who cannot afford a fair day in court. Programs, regional offices and staff are being closed and laid off. Women, children and the less fortunate will suffer the most. There will be no assistance for filling out important forms, guidance and establish a fair representation in court.
It was also announced that over sixty surgeries will be cancelled for 2010. The wait list just to hear back from the specialist can be anywhere from six months to a year and then it is uncertain as to how many years you will have to wait for the surgery. In the meantime, the patient’s condition is getting worse and that it will be more expensive and challenging later than if it was done at a reasonable time after diagnosis.
The province is like a sinking ship, but they still spent their last penny on the Winter Olympics. It is not that I am against the Games, it is at what cost it has on human lives. There is no price for a human life. The loss of only one is already too many. It provokes poverty, causes great financial debt and jeopardizes the well-being of every British Columbian.
A comment to one of my blogs stated that the loss of life of our most vulnerable is a part of nature. It is simple evolution. This may be true, but to increase their suffering and speeding up the inevitable without aid all for the sake of you paying thousands of dollars at the Olympics to watch figure skating is plain ignorant. It seems that I should throw up my arms in the air and give up on my friends on the street. He believes that we should let it be and let nature that its course and that I should not ruin the happiness of the rich and strong.
I am supposed to put on a happy face and watch my friends die on the street without a conscience. It seems that with my phony smile, I am supposed to watch the Olympics and love it. It is not just the street community that will suffer. The billions of dollars sunk into the Olympics could have provided a prosperous and healthy housing project in British Columbia. Hundreds, maybe thousands could have been housed. Yet we ignore those who need homes and put them at risk of becoming homeless too. Our medical system is falling apart with bed closures, cutbacks and the firing of staff. Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost in Canada since the start of the recession. People are dying waiting for surgeries and life saving treatment. Education is severely jeopardized by program cuts, large classrooms and many go to school hungry. Lunch programs at schools are operated by local charities.
I am supposed to turn the other cheek and watch the Games while a child does not have the proper nutrition needed to keep up with their studies. I am supposed to see nursing homes wheel out corpse’s everyday from their facility due to the lack of care because of cutbacks.
I am supposed to keep my mouth shut and die with dignity because I too am not receiving the proper medical treatment. We are meant to keep our mouths shut and keep the peace while cities are being destroyed.
The province and the City of Victoria are on a world propaganda campaign. On TV screen around the world, they are broadcasting how beautiful British Columbia is and what a wonderful paradise that Victoria is. “Victoria is a biblical paradise”.
It is true that Victoria really is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but is at very high risk of losing it all. I don’t believe that people were put on this earth as pawns destined only to die while the mainstream population thrives. If this is true, we would bulldoze the retirement homes and the people in it, shoot the homeless and sick and execute the convicted. That comment I received seemed that these people are beyond their usefulness and are destined to die anyway, so why worry about them.
I was encouraged to watch the Olympics and let people be happy and allow nature to take its course and claim the lives that are meant to be. If this is the case, I will gladly step to the front of the line.
I am supposed to let people be happy and encourage their non- concerning spirits to welcome poverty, pain and disparity for the sake of world sport. You should know by now what my answer is to that. As I am trying to be civil, I will not respond to that comment other than saying, “I don’t agree”.
Although I don’t agree to the comment, I am very pleased to receive it. My blog provoked communication and that is the whole reason of the book series. The comment only proves that my tactics work. I don’t mind being the bad guy as long as it causes people to think and talk about mental illness, addiction and homelessness. In my eyes, that is my job done.
Back in 1979 when I came to Victoria, I was astonished and humbled by its beauty, the friendly people and bustling downtown core. In fact at one time it was voted the best city to live in Canada and the world perhaps more than once. In thirty years I have seen a lot of negative changes and I feel that I earned my right to mourn for this city. I want it back the way it was. From what I see today, it is not the biblical paradise I once fell in love with. It has been replaced with pity and sorrow.
This goes beyond just the street community. How many people never have the time to visit their parents at home or in a senior care facility? Our aboriginal people are being constantly lied to, cheated and robbed of their rights. Battered women, abused children and the working poor can all be considered sick, weak and destined to doom.
According to that comment, we should allow nature to take its course and be more concerned about the rich and happy fat cats. We are supposed to behave ourselves and allow this to happen for the sake of evolution and insure not to hurt the feelings of the strong and powerful.
Unfortunately, most people feel the same way and are repulsed from hearing the truth. I cannot fathom that a child sexually assaulted by their sick father had it coming and was destined for this fate. The child fits under the category of being weak and vulnerable, should we also turn a blind eye and try not to hurt anyone’s feelings?
I understand that the world can be cruel, but I don’t have to contribute to it. There are many in Victoria who are fighting back and standing up for those who cannot help themselves. We have been labeled as ‘terrorists’ by the provincial government for caring about our friends in need.
That leads us to the morality of the residents of British Columbia, minus the sick, weak and vulnerable. We are not just taking about a few small groups who we believe should not breathe the same air as we do. There are tens of thousands who would benefit from having that money spent on the Olympics to have it stay in the province and boost our social systems.
We have been called ‘intellectually illicit’ by government for not seeing the good that will come from having the 2010 Winter Olympic Games coming to Vancouver. Certainly there will be a few perks, but at what cost? This is the world of four leaf clovers, candy dreams and relentless bliss only for a few. What would an overpaid politician really know about poverty?
In fact, why would they care? There is no money it for them so it is not worth doing anything at all. Many British Columbians also believe in this similar logic. As long as it does not affect them personally, why should they care about anyone else? It seems that many people’s backside has a heart-beat of its own.
There has to be a balance between work, leisure and play. This is not the case in British Columbia. Our idea of planning for our future is to sit in front of the lotto outlet all day in the mall and hope for the big one. We are too lazy to work. Victoria is a very soft minded city with poison hearts and souls.
The fact is that mental illness, addiction and homelessness is only a warning of what is yet to come. The opportunity to save our city is slipping through our fingers. You can call me a naysayer, pessimist or just plain loco. You don’t have to do a ten year case study like I am to figure out that we took the wrong fork in the road.
What do you think are the chances that Victoria, BC, Canada will be able to house and support 1,550 homeless people in ten years? The recession in all likelihood will cut that from happening by at least half. Throw in Olympic Fever and that should be enough to bury that goal from ever achieving any sort of success.
The city predicted that the homeless count will increase by 30% for every year of inaction. If you crunch the numbers, in 2018 we will have approximately 15,965 homeless people in Victoria. The aftermath of the recession and the wake from the Olympics was not calculated in this forecast.
If we use the city’s 2008 survey numbers, approximately 48 % (7,663) would have addiction problems. 42% is estimated to be mentally ill (6,705).
If these numbers released by the city in 2008 are accurate, I have every right to spit in your soup. The numbers may be differ greatly to what will really happen by 2018, but the city’s figures paint a very bleak future.
Of course the approximate 65,000 population in Victoria will also grow significantly by then, but it still does not hide the fact that there is a possibility that we will have over 15,000 homeless people in this city. Say hello to Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. In the fist two years of the plan, Victoria was able to house and support approximately 400 people which were a far cry from its target.
If this is anywhere near the truth, I don’t think I should spare the feelings of the healthy, strong and powerful and I won’t. We could soften the blow if we included the entire population of 300,000 people in the Greater Victoria District (CRD).
Either way we look at it, something has to go. It is obvious that if those numbers are factual, the homeless problem has no other choice than to migrate into other communities as well.
I can give you six billion reasons why we should be concerned. When our governments fall behind, it is up to us to pick up the slack. I am proud to say that the people have spoken. There are more and more people making a difference and helping those who are mentally ill and addicted
Andrea Paquette, Reverend Al Tysick, Janine Bandcroft, Linda Mayo, Jody Paterson, Rose Henry, Tara Timmers, Alan Rycroft, Mayor Dean Fortin, Jill Clements and many more are changing the world and Victoria, BC, Canada which is ground zero. I am proud to stand in front of their presence. They are truly caring and compassionate people who only care for their brothers and sisters.
I know that I am very pessimistic, but I cannot forget those who give up so much of themselves for the sake of others. These are true Canadian heroes. These are the people who are the true leaders of the people. As myself also being a lost sheep, I have finally found my way too with the leadership of many great people in this city.
Although the recession and the timing of the Olympics has had delivered a devastating blow to the City of Victoria, there has been some great successes. Although the number of homeless people is still at 400 after two years since the project’s birth, a new pilot project was launched thanks to the support of the Victoria United Way.
The United Way provided over $170,000.00 to the ‘Streets to Homes’ project. Very incentive methods to provoke landlords to rent to the hard to house tenants have been initiated. The project ensures that the rents will always be paid on time and all damages will be repaired. This will not cost the landlord financial losses regardless who occupies the unit.
It is inevitable that there will be problems, but 24/7 supportive housing and cooperation of other agencies such as ACT, (Assertive Community Treat). They house, guide and support the tenants to improve their lives. This includes two daily visits, obtaining income from social assistance or employment, supporting education and training and by providing treatment for mental and medical illnesses including addiction.
There are success stories of people who totally changed their lives around. They are now working, going to school, re-establishing relations with families and becoming productive members of society. One even was able to establish a personal relationship which helps provide the strength to heal and not be alone.
Unfortunately, the Vancouver Downtown East Side has been attacked by business and government alike. It seems that human lives are superficial as compared to the money and attention given to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Homeless people are being displaced from an area where they have inhabited for decades.
Low end buildings are be bought up by rich developers pushing the low income earners to the streets to make room for high end apartments and condos that no one will ever be able to afford anyway. Shelters are being closed in order to displace the homeless out of the area. During the past two decades, hundreds of aboriginal women were killed or went missing without even a blink of an eye from our government or us.
January 12th, 2010 was the start of a one month of events opposing the Games on Coast Salish Territory and the democratic assaults on our most vulnerable. The Vancouver Downtown East Side is the poorest neighbourhood in the whole country. Vancouver is also the most expensive city to live in Canada.
Several groups have joined together to prove to the world that that the citizens of Canada plays second fiddle as being compared to the k-chink of a cash register. They claim that it is the people of Canada who are disorientated. The opposition help people, the governments and the lost sheep allow our poor to die on the street. Shelters are not the answer, permanent housing is.
The money spent alone on the security of the Games could have permanently housed hundreds of homeless people, not to mention the other $5 billion spent for sixteen days of supposed glory.
The government does not feel shame, guilt or compassion for the homeless dead. They are instead poking the fire so that our poor will burn and turn to ashes. The lost sheep don’t want to see or hear anything that may wilt a rose.
Vancouver, the province and country has once again turned a blind eye to something that is considered the glue that holds Canada together and that is its people. Money, greed and power are driving this country into fire and brimstone.
Democracy should not include rising to the top thus leaving your peers behind for dead. The lost sheep blindly follows the country to deterioration with no regards to the loss of human lives.
The mentally ill are prematurely released from hospital, the working poor have their rents raised and the addicted are ignored. Our indigenous people are lied to, cheated and neglected thus destroying them and Canada’s true heritage. Our native communities are Canada, not us. We discriminated, ignored them and stole their souls.
The governments and the glory of the Games have us as the next target, yet you do not see this. The governments are leading us to slaughter. Some are already gone and that still does not seem to concern us.
These are prehistoric times relived again. To catch your prey, you must bait the trap with something they want. In this case, the government is waving imaginary prosperity, power and world recognition. Instead of using logic to think with, we quickly fall into the trap. The consequences are now yours.
This is also a politically volatile time to host the Games in Canada. With our involvement in Afghanistan, we have tarnished our image as peacekeepers thus severing any ties we had with the Eastern World. The Games provide opportunity for retaliation. The Prime minister abolished parliament for awhile giving him absolute control of the country.
During this time of dictatorship, we are to bow down to his feet. There are so many reasons why the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games should not have been hosted here, but a baa-baa here and a baa-baa there; we are now the fools of the world.
We are prone to martial law in the near future if the Games take a wrench into the works. Common sense would have told us to pull out of the bid, but greed, power and image over ride any logic that we may have once had.
If I don’t turn into a micro waved TV dinner in the next few years or decades, this book will detail the inside workings of the Olympics and Vancouver, BC, Canada. We were stooped! British Columbia is in hysterics about boarding a sinking ship, but there are those who would rather wait on the docks for the next dingy.
Most of the mentally ill, addicted and homeless that I know have more common sense than to chase a carrot on a string. Why can we not see through the smoke and mirrors? They have first hand experience of the so called civilized world and its faults. You can’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
After all this bull, it will be the mentally ill, addicted and homeless that will have the last laugh. We will laugh ourselves right into destitution and despair.
This book is to reiterate how stupid we are. This book is dedicated to the real lost sheep. We will soon realize our errors of the past and question the reason why they did not help the most vulnerable when we were able to. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, this is the time that tears are being shed. This will be the time that I will bare my single finger salute. What goes around will always come around.
This is quite amusing to me to see how millions and millions of people will go down with a sucker punch. We do not foresee the relativity of our actions to what is already happening in our society. It has no other place to go, but down.
We are the taxpayers. We don’t care where our money is going or why it is going there. Politicians ensure that they get a healthy raise in pay, but when did you get one that pulled you out of the poverty line? An inadequate medical, educational and services systems are falling apart at the seams.
I honour the mentally ill, addicted and homeless, they have more pride and determination than a lot of rats I know who are caught in the trap. This rodent infested society is selfish and greedy. Nothing will separate them from their greed for a shiny Toonie.
We have sold our society over to the spirit of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The risks are too many. The reasons are selfish and the greed is overwhelming.
The mentally ill, addicted and homeless has never been an issue with the governments and its people. Now, things are starting to hit home. Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside will never be fantasized as an amusement park, why are we clamoring now to fix it up?
All those years of discrimination, ignorance and fear, we were then left with a community of hardcore survivors. Now we want to displace them and hide them out of sight. The police have been granted the authority to remove these people from the DTES with force if need be and take them to the nearest shelter.
It is us who should feel the guilt and shame for allowing this to happen in the first place. We ignored it and it manifested into a community of its own. They do not live by our rules or regulations. They have their own code of honour amongst themselves. We allowed this to happen and are now ashamed of having them in our neighbourhoods. It is us who are the fools.
In Victoria in the 900 block of Pandora, the homeless and street people are calling the boulevard home after The Open Door (Homeless drop-in centre) closes in the evening. Combined with the BC Supreme Court decision, they legally can set up shelter on city land. Their rights to occupy the city’s green space are also legal.
Unfortunately, the privileges of the law of the land are being disrespected and desecrated. About 40 people occupy this area, making access through the area fearful and challenging. Businesses lose potential customer traffic because of what is being named ‘Victoria’s Ghetto, ‘and is occupied by some of the street community.
The main problem is not so much the physical occupation but the lifestyles are disturbing. Open drug us, urinating in public and worse which is a health hazard. Discarded needles and people sleeping in business doorways make Pandora comparable to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
In the morning, business owners have to bleach their areas in front with bleach and clean up the mess. This is also a cost to the taxpayer for every morning, 5 city workers go to the area and clean up the mess and make it safe again till the next day. A downtown businessman stated that we must take much of the responsibility ourselves for it was us who let them down. Where were we when they first used drugs or alcohol? Where were our guidance, discipline and love?
Things have not changed, similar occurrences are found at the old needle exchange on Cormorant Street (Now closed because of similar conditions) and the emergency shelter (Streetlink) on Warf.
We must take responsibility and make things work. First of all, you have to think why are they there in the first place? It is because they are homeless and have no place to go. It is the most logical site for it is centrally located to services designed for their needs, (like the drop-in centre.) Unfortunately, this is the Red Zone. All the drugs and hotspots are downtown.
We need affordable housing. Doing this would definitely fix that problem and several other serious social catastrophes. It is a domino effect. It goes straight from housing, employment and lessens medical strains on the system; it is one of the most perfect solutions. I really wonder why it is not being done.
This is why Victoria chose ‘The Housing First’ initiative. It makes perfect sense. The first order of business is to find these people permanent homes. For all the money spent on homeless drop-in centres, shelters and ‘Basically Adult Day Care, the 1,550 homeless people could all have two bedroom units. This not necessary, but the money can go a long way if properly distributed.
Band-Aids will never cure the infection. We have to cut it out. It is not that difficult to implement this money saving theory. Charity executives should not earn a $60,000+ annual salary, nor should their paid employees make $18.00 an hour. I have little sympathy or respect for people who are being paid with the pain, agony and suffering of others
Many hide behind the cloth and pretend that this is their calling and they only believe in their higher power. In my opinion, many could easily slide under the belly of any ant. My bets are on the ant.
It all comes down to the fat wallet. Sacrifice, service and love are the pure solution. The giving of ones self to another is priceless. I honestly believe that money is evil; there is nothing as pure as a human heart. Which ever the scale ultimately tips will be the fate of Victoria, BC, Canada.
The housing crisis, medical system collapse and deteriorating social values is more than just a slight miscalculation. It is a moral issue and we suck at it. Lies, cheating and theft are what I usually associate with the word ‘politics’. In fact, I don’t see any differences between them.
As lost sheep, we inherit the lies, cheating and theft and practice them on the poor and unfortunate. These people are left astray to fend for their own survival. We are ostracizing them to the cracks and gutters of this city. When we see something that offends us, we are quick to judge them for what is happening. A dynamite stick will not blow up without a wick. Something has to go. The cracks get wider, the nooks and crannies fill and another human soul dies.
We see people taking a crap on our sidewalks or urinating in front of our business. We see people destroying their minds with drugs and alcohol and we wonder why. We see the aftermath of these conditions that may cause a life hazard. Violence and theft perpetuates living under these circumstances, but who put them there.
Your daughter ran to the streets because she was sick and tired cleaning up your puke after you had a binge at the bar. Your son can only stand so many beatings, so off he goes to the streets. As parents, you did not educate your children of the facts about drugs and alcohol. You did not educate yourselves of the facts about mental illness, addiction and homelessness. In fact, you just didn’t care. You thought that parenting is a cake walk. Well, it isn’t. It is a hard job and it takes a lot of personal sacrifice to raise and guide children to become respectable members of society.
If you shirk on your responsibilities, you too are the cause of what happens on the streets. Your job is to guide, protect and love children unconditionally. Your dog thinks this way of you, why can’t you do this for your own children?
Due to our incompetence, our children take to the streets like stray dogs. There you have it in a nutshell, we do share a responsibility. We do not have to be lost sheep.
Society is conceived in your bedroom. Think long and hard before giving yourself to another and perhaps bringing into the world an unwanted child. The formula to society is in the family home. If you are unable to take care of yourself and your future, then it is simple math that you should not bring a child in the world.
Drug and alcohol binges often lead to regrettable sexual encounters. With the mind clouded, thoughts of disease, pregnancy and the future of a child are not even considered. You didn’t care 15 years ago, why you would care now that your daughter is doing tricks in downtown Victoria.
Approximately, 400 homeless children downtown were also only an afterthought and were brought into this world to be forgotten and lost. Victoria homeless count is approximately 2,000 or more. Simply said, we had a lot irresponsible parents in Victoria. As being a member of this society, we are then responsible for the lost and forgotten children.
We are also responsible to those whose childhoods were stolen from them. As a society, it is our duty to take up that responsibility and help those in need. There you have it; we now have a ghetto in Victoria, BC, Canada.
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More Blogs by Patrick Joesph Schnerch
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Book Review / The Peaceful Warrior - Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Book review / City of Gardens: The Other Side of the Fence - Tuesday, September 21, 2010
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Facts that contribute to social degeneration - Monday, September 06, 2010
Not enough - Monday, September 06, 2010
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The Other Side of the Fence - Tuesday, December 22, 2009
City of Gardens: Book review - Thursday, November 19, 2009
City of Gardens: Victoria's Dirty Little Secret - Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Link Exchange - Wednesday, November 04, 2009
The Invisible Society / Edit - Sunday, October 25, 2009
The Invisible Society / Excerpt - Tuesday, October 06, 2009
The Invisible Society / October 19, 2009 - Monday, September 28, 2009
New book / AWSOME!!! - Sunday, September 13, 2009
Life is Good! - Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Forum and Chat - Monday, August 24, 2009
I Double Dog Gone Dare You to Read This! - Friday, August 21, 2009
The Motive Behind West Coast Literary Productions - Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Bipolar Babe / Inspiration - Monday, July 20, 2009
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