city of 'victoria' needs "lived experience"

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The city of 'victoria' is making things more and more difficult for unhoused people to survive. These "experts" are making decisions without being accountable for their decisions and actions. This petition asks for every City Councillor and every City staff member involved in decision making regarding sheltering in parks to spend one week living in a tent in a City park, making sure to uphold full compliance with the City's bylaws.

** please note this is something unhoused people have been saying for years and a co-conspirator graciously put this in the language of colonial governance **

WHEREAS municipal governments, while not wholly responsible for homelessness, have through control of park infrastructure the power to significantly worsen or improve quality of life for people who are stuck living outside in city parks; and

WHEREAS the city of 'victoria' has through its decisions over the course of years steadily restricted where people living outside can shelter and particularly reduced options for people to shelter close to where survival services are located; and

WHEREAS since the start of COVID the city of 'victoria' has repeatedly changed rules about where people can shelter in parks, forcing people to relocate multiple times; and

WHEREAS the city of 'victoria' has regardless of weather prohibited people living in parks from having fires, using any open-flame devices, or using propane or other fuels, thereby making it impossible for people to stay warm, cook food, or dry wet belongings; and

WHEREAS the city of 'victoria' has not ensured that basic hygiene infrastructure (e.g., COVID-safe handwashing, showers, potable water delivery at a level sufficient to meet daily needs rather than occasional recreational use) is available in locations proximal to permissible sheltering sites and instead chose to turn off water at a site where community volunteers built showers with community donations; and

WHEREAS the city of 'victoria' has not worked with unhoused people, grassroots organizations, or service providers to create a comprehensive plan to ensure that every individual living outside can meet basic health and safety needs; and

WHEREAS some of the members of 'victoria' Council have repeatedly through public statements and Council discussions promoted stereotyping of people who are unhoused thereby amping up anti-poor stigma and hatred, contributing to harassment of people living outside; and

WHEREAS the city of 'victoria' has prioritized funding for enforcement of bylaws over meeting people's survival needs;

THEREFORE the signers of this petition call upon every City Councillor and every City staff member involved in decision making regarding sheltering in parks to spend one week living in a tent in a City park, making sure to uphold full compliance with the City's bylaws, to gain more insight regarding the impact of the City's decisions. While knowing you only have to live through this for one week is not the same as having no end in sight, we believe this is a small step that would help City officials to more accurately understand the impacts of their actions.