February 28, 2021

To:

Honourable Premier of BC, john.horgan.mla@leg.bc.ca
Hon. David Eby, Q.C., Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. david.eby.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Honourable Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. josie.osborne.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Honourable Adrian Dix, Minister of Health adrian.dix.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Honourable Mike Farnworth, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General mike.farnworth.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Honourable Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions sheila.malcolmson.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Grace Lore, MLA, Victoria-Beacon Hill, grace.lore.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Laurel Collins, MP, Victoria, laurel.collins@parl.gc.ca
Lisa Helps, Mayor, Victoria BC lhelps@victoria.ca
Fred Haynes, Mayor, District of Saanich, mayor@saanich.ca
Malcolm McNaughton, Director Regional Development Vancouver Island Region, BC Housing mmcnaughton@bchousing.org
Barbara Desjardins, Mayor, Esquimalt, jodi.graham@esquimalt.ca
David Screech, Mayor, View Royal, mayorscreech@viewroyal.ca
Chet Phillips, Lead Organizer Greater Victoria Act Together chet@gvat.ca
Kelly Roth, Executive Director, Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness kroth@victoriahomelessness.ca
Colin Plant, CRD Board Chair, colin.plant@saanich.ca

Dear Leaders

It has been over a month since I wrote to you requesting the creation of an emergency task force to help with what is currently being called “homelessness” in Victoria.  Since writing to you the incidents in my community have increased in both quantity and severity.

Over the past few days alone I have seen a woman be assaulted in plain sight in the park, saw another woman (senior) lay passed out on the cold wet grass, been woken by people yelling out from the park in the middle of the night, heard of a camper going after a bylaw officer with a sledge hammer, watched fire-fighters respond to tent fires, police respond to disputes, and Emergency Medical Technicians attend to varying medical needs in Beacon Hill Park. The first responder traffic on the street is constant– day and night. These are just the incidents I see from my tiny apartment window which provides a view of a very small area of the park.

Living directly across from the park has made it clear that homelessness is a symptom, not a problem. If we do not deal with the root causes of homelessness the symptoms will get worse for the citizens living without homes, those living on the front lines, the first responders and the incredible number of community organizations doing all they can to help those in need.

Victoria is in crisis. It is imperative that all levels of government and community stakeholders working in all areas of service provision, from health, mental health and addiction, housing, reconciliation, poverty reduction, criminal justice, and urban planning come together to help our people. The city of Victoria does not have the knowledge and expertise to do this alone. 

I am pleading with you to work with each other and come together to help our citizens. We need your leadership. It can be done. The Coalition to End Homelessness in Campbell River has a multi-jurisdictional advisory committee that is actively working in that community and impacting positive change.

Kind regards

Susan Simmons

Leave a Comment