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Keith Smith serves dinner to his homeless friends during Christmas

December 15, 2014 Leave a comment

At the 10th annual Uptown Church Christmas dinner, Keith Smith serves dinner and warmhearted conversation to his homeless friends.

25 Hours at the Homeless Camp in Abbotsford

December 16, 2013 Leave a comment
AHA Media arrived at Jubilee Park in Abbotsford at around 9pm on Wednesday, December 11th 2013. It was cold and windy, the winter weather was harsh on the 30 or so homeless men and women that had set up here in there last place of refuge.

“When we first got there, the homeless people were quite amazing, very respectful, they’re wanting to know what’s happening with their lives, it was a situation where they all pitched in, got the wall in the parking lot”

In Abbotsford, you can only stay 5 days out of the month in a shelter. If you smell like alcohol or use drugs you are kicked out for 30 days minimum – very strict policy. Where are the homeless people to go? They are forced to build their own camps. 

The City of Abbotsford chased them out of location after location. Chicken manure was spread on one spot, and then another camp was invaded and torn to shreds. Pepper spray was used on defenceless citizens who only wanted a safe place to sleep without harassment and intimidation.

These following videos and pictures chronicle our 25 hours at Jubilee Park. The City of Abbotsford has served them an eviction notice, but they are staying. They were camped in the park for almost 60 days. Now this parking lot next to the park is their last refuge.

 

What are their demands? A low barrier shelter that won’t kick them out or judge them or intimidate them.

 
“During the evening, when they were putting up the 8 ft wall barricade to protect them against the wind,  the Cops came to investigate but didn’t do anything. But the next morning, the big bosses got on the high agenda to get a court injunction and they didn’t want the homeless people to be there. The cops arrived at 1pm, stapled a bunch of Court notices saying that they had to be out of the new structure that was built last night by 6pm. It was heart wrenching to see all the bullying police officers, 5 By-Law officers, 4 Cops, to staple up the Court notices.”
 
“20 minutes later,  Abbotsford  Police brought along City of Abbotsford Maintenance Dept, blockaded the parking lot, towed a bunch of vehicles away, which is heart wrenching to see. Spending all that money just to put up a Court injunction for the homeless people ..very sad. They got surveillance cameras – drones, They Bullied them to show the Homeless People.. “We are the City of Abbotsford”,  You don’t dare disrupt what we do, and you have to do what we say”
 
“It’s so heart wrenching, the homeless people are just people looking for some help, to live their lives in a peaceful manner. A lot of these people don’t want to go into a shelter, because they feel they are institutionalized, they feel abused, it’s hard to imagine what they are going through.”
 
They banded together,  the homeless people but then they got a court injunction to stop everything at 6pm,  police action occured,   City of Abbotsford said that they were going to appeal it,  they put up a new injunction on Friday morning, and this is an ongoing legal process.
 

Barry Shantz was our guide through the camp. He is the head of the Abbotsford chapter of the BC Yukon Drug War Survivors, and is the recognized leader of the group.

 
“The homeless people just want to be left alone, and live  in peace, there are a lot of beautiful people who come down and brought coffee, doughnuts, apples and fruits for them. The supporters are very kind and nice. One lady bought pizza for them.”
 
“But there are other people who scream ‘Not In My Backyard’, I don’t want these people to stay here.”
 
It’s absolutely unbelievable how much the city is divided in this situation. You have churches who are helping them out, organizations helping them out, but then you have churches who scream “Absolutely No Way!” You can’t have the people here, get them out!”
 
It’s a very divided situation, it’s going to come to a conclusion soon, hopefully a peaceful conclusion”
 
The homeless people are there for the long run, they are going to make a stand and say.. “You cannot do this to us, we are human beings!” We are very proud and we’ll take it as it comes”
 
 

1  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 2  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 3  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 4  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 5  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 6  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 7  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 8  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 9  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 10  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 11  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 12  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 13  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 14  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 15  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 16  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 17  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 18  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 19  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 20  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 21  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 22  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C. 23  AHA MEDIA at BC Yukon Drug War Survivors Homeless Standoff in Jubilee Park, Abbotsford, B.C.

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Hendrik Beune of AHA MEDIA speaks with Judy Grave, Advocate for the Homeless at City of Vancouver (COV) on what’s important in DTES Community

July 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Hendrik Beune of AHA MEDIA sat down with Judy Graves, Advocate for the Homeless at City of Vancouver at a bus stop on Hastings St.

He answered questions on the topic

“Your DTES Community – Tell Us What Is Important to you!

Address?

Since When?

Age?

Gender?

Disabilities?

A. What’s important to you in the DTES? (Places, spaces, things)

  • Can you show these places on the map?
  • If your important thing does not have a location, you can put it into the “heart”

1 Where do you spend time?

2 Where do you go for food?

3 Where do you get together with friends or meet people?

4 Which drop-ins, community centers or services do you go to?

5 Do you go anywhere to learn? Do you go to any schools, classes or programs? Where?

6 Do you work or volunteer? Where do you go to do this?

B. What is missing or needed in the DTES?

  • Is there anything you need that is not in the DTES? What is missing?
  • Can you show this on a map?

C. What are your fears and hopes for change and development in the DTES?

  • Have you seen the DTES changing and if so, where and how?

7 What are some of the negative ways change and development can affect the DTES?

8 What are your hopes for change (development) in the DTES?

Hendrik Beune of AHA MEDIA and Judy Graves, Advocate for the Homeless at the City of Vancouver (COV)

Below are two videos with Hendrik Beune speaking with Judy Graves speaking on “What is important in the DTES?”

(Due to the busy traffic noises in the background of the video, please listen with headphones for better sound clarity and volume)

 

Earl Crowe waves hello to both Hendrik and Judy while doing their survey

Judy and Earl smile together at the corner of Carrall and Hastings

Judy listens to Thai’s thought about the DTES

Judy listening to Christoph Runne’s thoughts on what’s important in the Vancouver DTES

“What Important to the DTES Community” survey

Knowledge Exchange on Homelessness and Health in Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES)

November 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Welcome and blessing: Sam George

Dr Stephen Hwang – Research Scientist at the Centre for Research on Innet City Health at St. Michael’s Hospital “Canadian Crisis – the Hidden Cost of Homelessness”

Dr. Anita Palepu – UBC Associate Member, General Internal Medicine

Tom Laviolette – Director of Project Development, PHS Community Services Society

Laura Cowan – Executive Director, Street Health Community Nursing Foundation, Toronto

Michael Shapcott – Wellesley Institute, Toronto

 Sean Spear – Associate Director, RainCity Housing

 Meghan Thumath – Vancouver Coastal Health Clinical Practice Initiatives Lead, HIV/AIDS “Impact on Homelessness on HIV/AIDS and Approaches to Care and Treatment”

 Craig Crawford (Acting) Vice President of Operations, BC Housing

 Dr Bruce MacLaurin – Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work, U of C “Preventing Homelessness: Developing the Homelessness Asset & Risk Tool (HART) Bruce MacLaurin on behalf of the HART Research Team”

Wendy Muckle – Executive Director, Ottawa Inner City Health “Understanding What Works – Breaking Down Barriers to Housing and Healthy Living for Women

Liz Evans – Executive Director, PHS Community Services Society “SIS: Fight for Change