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» babble   » from far and wide   » bc, alberta, saskatchewan   » Victoria: Open Door street ministry finds temporary home

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Author Topic: Victoria: Open Door street ministry finds temporary home
Babbler # 8238

posted 21 November 2005 04:37 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Victoria News

A unique partnership between Victoria Cool Aid Society and AIDS Vancouver Island has given Rev. Al Tysick's Open Door street ministry a new lease on life.

Cool Aid board chair Andrew Benson confirmed Wednesday that his organization and AVI have joined forces to buy the former 7-11 Bingo hall building in the 700-block of Johnson Street and agreed to sublet the main floor to the Open Door for the next 12 months. ...

"It's to our advantage to maximize our resources. We're providing services to many of the same clients already in many respects."

The purchase of the building will also provide a temporary location for the Open Door, which is slated to close by the end of the month to make way for a multi-million dollar redevelopment of the ministry and its sister organization next door, the Upper Room. The new jointly owned facility will be called Our Place when work is completed 24 months from now. ...

Tysick, along with other downtown social service organizations and city officials, has spent more than three months looking for a temporary location for his ministry. Benson noted that close to four dozen potential locations have refused to accept the Open Door as a tenant.

"This being the 11th hour, with Rev. Al's doors closing and no alternative available, we've agreed to rent him the 7-11 bingo hall for 12 months," Benson said. "This was not an economic decision. This was a social decision."

Tysick was clearly relieved the search for a temporary home has come to an end. ...

However, the new location also means higher costs at a time when the ministry is experiencing record demand for its services, serving upwards of 400 clients daily. Lease payments for the 7-11 property will cost $4,000 a month, which Tysick called "a really good deal" in terms of downtown commercial space. ...

The irony, said Tysick, is the organization has millions of dollars in the bank that must go toward the new building.

"I have $7.3-million in the bank, but that's for capital improvements," he said. "I can't buy a bar of soap or a loaf of bread with that money."

As a result, Tysick said the Open Door is seeking donations to bridge the gap over the next 12 months and also hopes to raise $20,000 to help make ends meet at Christmas.

"The (7-11) rent, that's part of it, but every year at this time we go to the public to help make up the budget." ...

From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Stunned Wind
Babbler # 7311

posted 22 November 2005 08:13 PM      Profile for Stunned Wind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Since I work downtown, in fact, right across the street, this is going to effect me. There is really no place for people to loiter as there is at their current location. Also, the door is right at a busy bus stop.

Many businesses around their current location had to beef up their security - I wonder what will happen around the new location. Will I have to step over people to get into my office? While I support the Open Door, I think that they needed a place with more loiter space outside.

From: Well! Now I'm in Victoria-Swan Lake! | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 10755

posted 23 November 2005 03:34 AM      Profile for Audiophil        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To be honest, how they allowed the temporary location to be placed at Douglas and Johnson is beyond me. If anyone asked me on any given day what the dirtiest, roughest intersection in downtown Victoria is when it comes to drug related problems, I'd say Douglas and Johnson every time.

I work at that intersection and I had to deal with enough problems with these people before. Now you want to set up the open door there?

This is a massive error, and will make a dirty area of town far worse.

I might be quitting my job at that location if our store see's a rise in incidents.

From: Canada | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 11237

posted 03 December 2005 01:51 AM      Profile for ledanz     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What is your job Audiophil, I'll take it if the pay is good.


From: Saskatoon SK | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 8238

posted 04 December 2005 03:40 AM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A bit off-topic, but rather than create a new thread....

Saanich: Death highlights lack of strategy for dealing with homelessness in Victoria area's largest municipality

Municipal buildings and churches in Saanich could soon be housing the region's homeless, as the problem of people living on the street reaches "critical mass," say councillors.

"It's something that snuck up on some people," said Coun. Vic Derman.

"They always regarded it as a Victoria issue ... but it's certainly gone beyond that now, and we need a plan to be able to take care of people in that situation, especially with the weather being what it is now.

"I think it's an issue that has been developing over a period of time, which has now reached critical mass."

Unlike Victoria, Saanich does not have a homeless strategy, or a protocol for emergency shelter beds when the mercury dips to dangerously low levels.

Instead, a four-person Saanich police bike team is tasked with finding, and offering aid, to homeless people known to camp in parks and under bridges along the Patricia Bay Highway.

Saanich police found the body of well-known homeless man, Thomas (Butch) Mather, partially covered by a tarp and lying in the snow in Gorge Park on Tuesday. Police believe he died from exposure. A homeless woman was found nearby with hypothermia.

Derman said the death added impetus to the problem-solving. However, Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff had been championing local solutions for homelessness for some time, said Derman. Brownoff was on vacation, he said, and she did not return calls for comment.

Derman and Brownoff have asked municipal staff to come up with options on where to house the homeless.

"Churches are a possibility, possibly municipal facilities, but I don't know for certain," said Derman.

"We could use some churches that are charitable organizations as at least a stop-gap in the shorter term."

The issue will likely come up at a council meeting on Dec. 12, and Derman said he hopes to have a solution in place, and doors open somewhere, by early 2006.

Mayor Frank Leonard said "my door would be open" to social agencies who want to open a facility in Saanich.

Neither police, nor Derman, could provide a count of homeless people in Saanich. Many travel to Victoria where the region's only shelter beds are located. ...

From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 8238

posted 02 March 2006 08:39 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Continuing on the topic of homeless people outside the city core in Victoria, with an article from the Saanich News:

... Homelessness in Saanich was briefly in the spotlight last December after Butch Mathers died of exposure in Gorge Park on a snowy night in late November.

In response, Saanich council created a cold weather emergency policy that is overseen by Saanich's Emergency Program committee, normally responsible for natural disaster planning.

When the thermometer dips low enough, Saanich Police are tasked with picking up people at risk of exposure.

If they have nowhere to go, they'll get a ride with police -- either downtown to one of the shelters in the city or to a warm police cell for the night.

The policy might have been the end of the issue but the Gorge Tillicum Community Association and the Native Friendship Centre decided more could be done.

One alternative being discussed is an emergency cold-weather shelter hosted by the Native Friendship Centre.

The centre recently moved to Saanich from its former location on Johnson Street in Victoria.

It was one of the agencies involved in Victoria's cold weather policy, which offered floor space to house people when it was too cold to sleep on the street.

The centre has sheltered about 10 people for short-term stays during cold weather. Most of those people, who were not exclusively First Nations, came from Saanich.

After the move to Saanich, into the former Hampton elementary school in the Burnside-Tillicum neighbourhood, the centre offered to continue its cold weather shelter in Saanich.

The offer was met with a luke-warm reception from Saanich council (with the exception of councillors Judy Brownoff and Vic Derman).

At the time, Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard said it would be up to the neighbourhood to determine if they wanted such a shelter.

"We're not saying let's build a shelter in Saanich, we're saying let's figure out what's going on," said Paul Gerrard, president of the Gorge Tillicum Community Association, about the March 18 forum.

There is a lot of confusion about how big the problem is, he said.

"It's a bit of an issue here that is underground. Saanich says there is no problem," he said.

However, there continue to be stories of people sleeping in Gorge Park as well as along the Galloping Goose Trail and near the Town and Country Mall.

Gerrard pointed out that people from Saanich who find themselves in need end up filtering downtown when they could be helped closer to home. Gerrard described a case of a woman who left an abusive relationship in a middle-class Royal Oak home. She sought help at the Burnside Gorge community centre in Victoria and was put up in a Gorge Road hotel, again in Victoria.

"There seems to be a missing element here," Gerrard said. ...

[ 02 March 2006: Message edited by: Yossarian ]

From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged

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