Washrooms are a basic need! We need action NOW! Victoria street & Weber encampment.

Washrooms are a basic need! We need action NOW! Victoria street & Weber encampment.

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Julie Sawatzky started this petition

I have registered to speak to the Regional Council this Wednesday the 27th in regards to advocation for the Weber & Victoria Street Encampment. My intro: "Hello, My name is Julie Sawatzky, and I am a loving mother, wife, professional photographer, makeup artist, salon owner, visionary & community change maker. I am incredibly interested in speaking with Council in regards to the lack of basic needs at the Victoria Street & Weber Street Encampment. I run a local organization called the 519 Community Collective, and across social media, we have almost 12,500 members! This is an issue that we all believe in very strongly. Having a solution for "right now", does not mean you are saying YES to them all living there forever. That is not the issue here. But these folks have limited options once the soup kitchen is closed. The next option would be the Ray of Hope! That is a very far walk. These folks are afraid of leaving anything behind or alone due to fear of theft! Imagine when the soup kitchen is closed on the weekends. Ladies with menstrual cycles, folks with IBS, or bladder infections, urinary tract infections, or worse. What an awful way to have to live. Many of them do not choose this lifestyle, rather are forced into it by generational poverty, and economic situations. We have an obligation as a society, and as a community to stand up for our most vulnerable community members. Having a safe space to use a restroom, is a basic human right. We have an obligation to get porta-potties out there right away or provide each and every one of these folks access to safe shelter. Please do keep in mind that some have no choice but to avoid shelter though due to trauma, violence, theft, sexual abuse, drugs, and more. We are one of many groups who are doing our part to ensure these folks have their food needs met, we help bring them essentials, water, sleeping bags, food storage so rats do not become an issue, we provide support, kindness, and whatever we can to make sure they can survive. Someone has to step in and say enough is enough! Let us remember back to Fackoury's - the place of the first Regional sponsored portapotties in 2020. Having a portapotty didn't make it a permanent solution. To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. We can and MUST do better! These are our neighbors, our community members, and our peers. Shame on us! They deserve better! How can we work together to make sure we can take care of this immediate need, and then move forward to try and solve the problem of having these encampments across the region. This is one of many that we are currently supporting! We are stronger together, that is a fact! Please help give these folks their dignity back! I am pleading with you! These are someone's daughters, sons, fathers, mothers, nieces, nephews, grandparents, sisters, and brothers. Would you allow this another day if that was your son or your daughter? Sincerely, Julie Sawatzky Founder of 519 Community Collective " WE MUST DO BETTER!!!! I am humbled, nervous, and motivated to speak, and hope that showcasing a different perspective will be helpful in making real change! We just wanted to keep our amazing group in the loop on this one as we know so many of you are also very passionate about this situation! The report will be added to the addendum agenda. The addendum agenda will be available on the Region’s Council webpage: https://calendar.regionofwaterloo.ca/council The report will provide a summary of the coordinated approach that is being taken to respond to encampments (including 100 Victoria Street) and the topic of access to washrooms for people staying in encampments. The meeting will be held virtually and will be live-streamed on the Region’s YouTube channel.

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