Invisibly Homeless Canadians + City of Vancouver’s Homelessness Action Week October 13 – 19, 2013

This video, from CTV Vancouver Island News, presents “Homelessness Action Week” in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

  • VICTORIA — Canadians are having an increasingly difficult time putting a roof over their heads and making ends meet.
    • Three and a half million in fact are currently living on or below the poverty line.
  • Here in our province it’s even worse.
    • With soaring housing costs and a lack of subsidized housing, roughly fifteen thousand British Columbians don’t have a place to call home.
  • The Our Place Drop In Centre is looking to change that, giving people hand up, not a hand out.
    • For the past three years project connect has brought homeless people and those who can provide assistance together says outreach worker Sarah Wilson.
  • “Victoria has one of the largest homeless populations per capita in the country and if we can provide these people with a meal, a shower, help with getting identification and even put together a resume for them, we can help them get back on track and out of poverty.”
  • Victoria NDP MP Denis Savoie is pushing for the federal government to pass bill C-304 at the end of the month that will put in place a national housing strategy.
  • Every Canadian has the right to decent affordable housing and this bill forces the government to provide people with that and develop a strategy to achieve that.

Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness


8th Annual Homelessness Action Week 2013

October 13 – 19, 2013

Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Homelessness Action Week  is an annual regional campaign across Metro Vancouver aimed at raising awareness about homelessness, and building community capacity and partnerships for local solutions to homelessness.

Homelessness Action Week is an opportunity to get involved in homelessness action in your community by attending events, and spreading the word about homelessness action through education, advocacy, and social media activity.

The City of Vancouver joins communities and organizations throughout the region to mark Homelessness Action Week.

  • Homelessness Action Week is organized by the Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness.
    • The Steering Committee on Homelessness is a coalition of community organizations and all levels of government.
  • The week’s purpose is to raise public awareness on the issues of homelessness, and rally local solutions to the issues.

The City of Vancouver is committed to ending street homelessness by 2015, and is a proud supporter and participant in Homelessness Action Week through a number of events and initiatives.

Homelessness Action Week (HAW) includes the following events.

Out of the Rain – Week-Long Art Exhibit

  • Visit this unique, FREE art exhibition where many of Vancouver’s established, homeless, at risk, and recently housed artists are exhibiting their work, with art as the medium to highlight the benefits of safe and decent housing.
  • Dates: October 12 – October 18,
    Times: The exhibit will be open for viewing during regular College hours (closed on October 14, Thanksgiving Monday),
    Location: Atrium, Vancouver Community College Downtown Campus, 250 W. Pender St. (enter from Hamilton at Dunsmuir).

Shiamak’s Dance for Good

  • Put on your dancing shoes and join us for an hour of fun and inspiring, FREE community dance prior to Dr. Hancock’s presentation.
    Date:  October 15,
    Time: 5pm-6pm,
    Location: Atrium of Woodward’s building at 111 West Hastings St.

Beauty and the City Beast: Art, Nature and Health in the Built Environment

  • Come to this “thought-provoking and engaging,” FREE talk by Dr. Trevor Hancock.
  • According to Dr. Hancock, “we cannot underestimate the role that beauty plays in health and well-being – beauty being visual art, performance, music, dance, other art, and the connection we have with nature.”
    Date:  October 15,
    Time: 7pm (doors 6:30),
    Location: Room 240, Vancouver Community College Downtown Campus, 250 W. Pender St.
  • Please click here to reserve your seat.

“Art as a Catalyst for Change” lunch-time plenary and art tour.

  • FREE event.
  • Bring your lunch and join them at this noon-time Knowledge Café for three engaging presentations on
    • “Homelessness: The Myth,”
    • “Arts, meet Health: Health, meet Arts,” and
    • “Art as Survival,” followed by a tour of the Out of the Rain art exhibit led by artist, Leef Evans.

    Date:  October 16,
    Time: 12pm – 1pm,
    Location: Room 240, Vancouver Community College Downtown Campus, 250 W. Pender St.

Out of the Rain: Gala Art Evening – Art Sale, Silent and Live Auction

  • You’re invited to a lively, FREE, public art gala that follows a week-long exhibition of artwork by well-known established artists and by homeless, at-risk, and recently-housed artists.
  • Come meet the Out of the Rain artists, purchase a piece of artwork and an art umbrella for an excellent cause, and be entertained by MC Mike Cavers.
  • Proceeds will go directly to the Streetohome Foundation, a Vancouver organization dedicated to ensuring all citizens of Vancouver have access to safe, decent, and affordable supportive housing.
  • Homeless, at-risk, and recently-housed artists will receive the proceeds of the sale of their work. Cash payments encouraged.
  • Date: October 18,
    Time: 7pm,
    Location: Atrium, Vancouver Community College Downtown Campus, 250 W. Pender St. (enter from Hamilton at Dunsmuir).
  • Please click here to register.

For a complete schedule of all the Homelessness Action Week events, please click here.


8th annual Homelessness Action Week to draw attention to major issue of Invisible Homelessness in Metro Vancouver

Vancouver, BC –Preparations are well underway across Metro Vancouver for the 8th annual Homelessness Action Week (HAW), an initiative organized by the Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness, and supported by hundreds of volunteers across the region.

Taking place October 13 – 19, 2013, HAW is focused this year not only on providing support and services to people who are homeless, but also on raising awareness about the growing concern of Invisible Homelessness.

“Few people realize that some 80 per cent of homeless people do not live on the street,” says Deb Bryant, Co – Chair of the Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness.

“These are the people who live in their cars, in church basements, in temporary shelters, or on the floors and couches of friends and family.

They live month to month in unstable and even unsafe housing, and always with the fear of ending up on the street. It’s important the public be aware of this critically important issue and that we work together towards a permanent solution. We believe the solution is to start with housing, which has proven effective in other cities in Canada.”

Seniors, youth and Aboriginal peoples are over-represented in the homeless population. These groups are particularly vulnerable to challenges such as inadequate income, abusive relationships, and health issues that lead to homelessness. “Solving and reducing the cost of homelessness begins by providing people with a secure and stable home,” says Bryant. “Once people are securely housed, support services, if they are needed, become much more effective in helping people meet challenges. Support services could include finding job training or improving their physical and mental well-being. But it all starts with having a place to call home.”

Activities during Homelessness Action Week will include Homeless Connect Events (service fairs for people who are homeless), public events (such as film nights and discussion panels) and a public awareness campaign focused on raising awareness about the issues of and solutions for Invisible Homelessness. The solutions go beyond providing people with shelter and include providing people with a home – a safe and permanent place to live – while supporting them with services that help them break the cycle of homelessness.

In 2012, more than one hundred events took place across the Metro Vancouver region related to Homelessness Action Week. Those unable to attend events can still do their part to support HAW and solutions for homelessness by:

  • Supporting the solutions to homelessness by spreading the word about the need to start with housing, and using the Homelessness Action Week social media action kit found at
  • Contacting your local Community Homelessness Task Force to become involved in supporting the solutions in your area.

To find out more about the activities of Homelessness Action Week and how you can help visit .

On Twitter: #startwithhome .

About Homelessness Action Week
Homelessness Action Week is an annual event focused on bringing public awareness and understanding to the issue of homelessness as well as solutions in the Greater Vancouver region. During Homelessness Action Week the public is invited to participate in events across the region. Community organizations, schools, and concerned members of the public are also encouraged to get involved, help spread the word about homelessness action, and support the solutions through education, advocacy, and social media activity.


2013 Homelessness Action Week Fast Facts

Invisible Homelessness:

  • 80% of homeless people do not live on the street.i
  • The invisibly homeless are those people who have shelter but not a home – a permanent, safe, and secure place to live.
    • They instead live in temporary or unstable places such as cars, in church basements, in emergency shelters, or on the floors and couches of friends and family.
  • Aboriginal peoples, youth, seniors, and families are over-represented in the Metro Vancouver homeless population.
  • Invisible homelessness is the result of many different factors that include a lack of affordable housing for individuals, families, and seniors living on inadequate income or unable to work; mental illness, physical disabilities, lack of adequate employment opportunities; and the need to flee from abusive relationships.

i Homeless Hub. (2013).Homelessness: Social Exclusion. Retrieved from:


  • The RSCH (Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness) is focusing on solutions to homelessness that start with a home, then provide the support required to stay housed.
  • This has been proven a successful and cost-effective solution, as a home is necessary before someone can begin to address barriers to becoming self-sufficient.
  • Results of the HAW 2012 public opinion poll revealed that Metro Vancouver residents support this solution to homelessness: to provide affordable housing with support services.
  • Several Canadian cities, including Vancouver, have already seen a reduction in homelessness populations by starting with housing.ii
  • Research notes that hospital admissions, police interventions, and health care costs dropped dramatically for people who are provided with housing and support services.
  • Between 75 and 86 per cent of those who have housing with support services retain their housing long-term and begin their journey out of the cycle of homelessness.iii
  • There has been noticeable progress over the last 10 years towards solving homelessness across Metro Vancouver.
    • The 2011 Homelessness Count showed a 52% decrease in the number of unsheltered homeless individuals from 2008, which means more people are accessing temporary shelters.iv
    • However, the total homeless population has not changed.

ii Homeless Hub. (2013). The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013. Retrieved from:

iii Mental Health Commission of Canada. (2012). At Home/Chez Soi Project Early Finding Report. Retrieved from:  & Edmonton Homeless Commission. (2013). 10 Year Plan Progress – Year 4 Key Numbers. Retrieved from:

iv Metro Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness. (2012). One Step Forward: Results of the 2011 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count. Metro Vancouver.

The following infographic, Homelessness in Canada by the Numbers, is provided by Canadian Homelessness Research Network (Homeless Hub)


Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH).

The information for the State of Homelessness in Canada 2013 report has been compiled by the Canadian Homelessness Research Network (Homeless Hub) and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness from the best available research to date.
The information for the State of Homelessness in Canada 2013 report has been compiled by the Canadian Homelessness Research Network (Homeless Hub) and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness from the best available research to date.

This video presents “Homelessness in Canada.”

  • References:
    • J. David Hulchanski, Philippa Campsie, Shirley B.Y. Chau, Stephen W. Hwang, Emily Paradis.
    • Homelessness: What’s in a Word? In: Hulchanski, J. David; Campsie, Philippa; Chau, Shirley; Hwang, Stephen; Paradis, Emily (eds.) Finding Home: Policy Options for Addressing Homelessness in Canada (e-book), Introduction.
  • Toronto: Cities Centre, University of Toronto.


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