Vanessa’s Homeless Story for Homelessness Action Week 2018

October 30, 2018

Vanessa, a member of Diverse Organization Providing Education and Regional Services (DOPERS) in Surrey shares her homeless experiences during an interview for Homelessness Action Week

Oct. 7-13 is Homelessness Action Week in British Columbia

Please scroll down to read full transcript of the video!



Don – Hi! I’m Don. I’m with Diverse Organization Providing Education + Regional Services. We’re here with our friends talking about Homelessness Action Week

Don – Name?

Vanessa – Vanessa

Don – Is this your hometown?

Vanessa – Yes

Don – Are you homeless?

Vanessa – Staying in a shelter right now…my boyfriend and I…we have a couple’s room…we’re still homeless

Don – How did that happen?

Vanessa – I was with a guy for 3.5 years ..went from a working man to absolutely just….So I left him..and that’s how I became homeless

Don – Tell us about your journey?

Vanessa – I was a labor trainer…was there for 10 years, hung dry wall…I’m a chef by trade

Don – What do you notice about this city?

Vanessa – The drugs where we are right now

Don – How hard is it to be homeless?

Vanessa – It’s hard

Don – Where do you sleep at night?

Vanessa – When you’re homeless, you sleep anywhere and everywhere

Don – Do you feel safe?

Vanessa – No…don’t feel safe anywhere

Don – Do you have any family?

Vanessa – No

Don – How would you describe your feelings about being homeless?

Vanessa – Really, really upset with a comment I saw on the news and what they had said about homeless people and it’s just so false…not everybody is out there to rob you, steal your car ..there’s good in everything

Don – What do you do you make money? ?

Vanessa – Been a prostitute…which is very scary

Don – What do you do every day to get by?

Vanessa – Place to lay your head with an actual phone number to put on your job application, be nice to have clothes to wear to the job interview…it’d be nice to have these things and when you don’t have them…you really become less than human it feels like almost…it’s tough

Don – Are you on welfare?

Vanessa – Yes

Don – Did Social Services help you find a place to live?

Vanessa – No

Don – What are your roadblocks to finding housing?

Vanessa – You need references

Don – What is the most challenging part of the day?

Vanessa – If it’s wet, some place dry

Don – Have you lived in a homeless camp?

Vanessa – I had a tent for a while there

Don – Do you feel connected with other homeless people in this area?

Vanessa – I do

Don – Do you feel there is a sense of community within the homeless population?

Vanessa – Yeah, homeless people are connected …there’s a little bit of closeness between us

Don – Tell us something no one knows about you.

Vanessa – Was a Jehovah’s Witness once ..have three kids, three grandsons

Don – What’s the worst perception people have of the homeless?

Vanessa – We’re homeless because we want to be homeless

Don – What needs to be done for the homeless?

Vanessa – The Modulars that they have…I think that’s a great start

Don – What do you miss most?

Vanessa – My kids

Don – What would have changed your life?

Vanessa – Excruciating pain in my back and it’s been going on for 10 years now…I think if that never started…I probably wouldn’t be in the position I am now…I’ve tried to medicate my pain

Don – What would help you overcome your challenges?

Vanessa – When I get on disability, maybe I could go see a chiropractor

Don – What is your drug of choice?

Vanessa – Heroin

Don – How do you manage that?

Vanessa – I have opiates from my doctor

Don – What is the highlight of the day?

Vanessa – Significant Other, he’s really helping me out

Don – What are some stressful situations that you encounter on a daily basis?

Vanessa – Worry a lot about people

Don What do you do for food and water?

Vanessa – Food and water provisions where I am

Don – How do you keep healthy?

Vanessa – Sleep regularly, eat properly

How do you keep safe?

Vanessa – Stay away from the wrong kind of people

Don – Do you have any beliefs you live by?

Vanessa – Somebody out there has it worse

Don – What is the best part of your day?

Vanessa – Significant Other…he makes my day

Don – Do people really want to solve the homelessness issue?

Vanessa – They’d rather just push it under the carpet

Don – What does the future look like?

Vanessa – Going back to school

Don – Where do you keep your belongings?

Vanessa – In the room, locked up

Don – What was your last steady job?

Vanessa – hang Dry Wall

Don – How long ago was it?

Vanessa – 7-8 years ago

Don – When was the last time they slept in a bed?

Vanessa – Been over a year

Don – Do you have any children?

Vanessa – I have 3

Don – One sentence to sum up your current situation?

Vanessa – All you can do is wake up and try and hope it’s better than the last day.

Don – If you could tell your story to Prime Minister Trudeau, what would you say?

Vanessa – Homelessness is not a plague. We are real people. We’ve had real lives. We need help. Help us in any way you can…we need more Modulars…so help us please

Don – Final thoughts?

Vanessa – If you think you can stay in your current situation, do so as long as you can…try to make it work…terrible out there…the streets are cold…life’s cold… the answers are out there if you look I think

Don – Thank you very much for doing this

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