Saturday, October 30, 2010

a hallowe'en we'll never forget

photo from nancy raycroft - kenny and linda

i'm not sure why the street newz and i aren't on cool aid's mailing list, but thanks to lisa from b channel for forwarding this very last minute press release (see next page).

giving credit where it's due, the olympic vista housing and the queens manor appear to somewhat successful efforts to house low income people. how affordable these will be remains to be seen -- we don't know what the olympic vista rents will be, and the queens manor (what a name) only has secure funding from the province for three months. after that, who knows. market rents (currently 800+ for one bedroom apartments) ?

when the work-in-progress humboldt street building is announced by press release, be sure to ask what was on that lot prior to the new building's construction. no doubt the press release will not tell us that a building constructed specifically for blind people used to stand on that site, a building that had been recently renovated. we will not be told what happened to all those blind people, though we do know what happened to blind kenny -- he is still at vic general, mourning the loss of his partner of 42 years, waiting for 'the system' to find him appropriate housing since he and linda were removed from the blind accessible building on humboldt street to make room for this new structure.

we are in a crisis situation, with poverty and homelessness increasing as capitalism falters and fails so many so completely. as a friend says - we don't need affordable housing, we need people who can afford housing! we need systemic changes to stop this growing chasm between ultra-wealthy and ultra-poor. we also need to continue to pay off the olympic debt, quietly and without any fanfare.

shelter beds are nice for emergencies, and this weekend will prove how valuable those can be, but they shouldn't be heralded as the be all and end all solution.

while we're all encouraged to be excited about the new insitutionalized shelter building in rock bay, it appears that only some of the street link people will be alright while folks from two other shelters will not fare so well. an inside source says street link currently houses 96 people (rather than the 80 this announcement mentions), 84 of whom will be moved to a new neighbourhood far away from resources they need, but at least they'll be inside. there's no mention of the people being displaced from the two other shelters, at st. john the divine and the salvation army, an estimate of about 72 lost mats, also about 60 hot meals no longer served.

it's hallowe'en weekend. the homeless who will spend that night outside might as well paint big targets on themselves so the drunken goons can find them more easily.

the chamber of commerce and the downtown victoria business association, and their employees at city hall, have won. homeless people, and the bottle exchange, will be removed from the downtown and we can all pretend victoria is the queen's cleanest colonial village as we admire the shiny new multi million dollar bridge. except ... there are still soup kitchens downtown, and the big new expensive 'our place' drop in centre. how soon until those are moved, or closed, too?

there's talk of a rally monday at noon on pandora green, to resist this final, just make them go away so i don't have to see them while i'm buying sweat shop products at the mall, solution.


From: "Alan Rycroft"

News Release

For Immediate Release: October 29, 2010

Cool Aid Opens Rock Bay Landing and Queens Manor Next Week

Rock Bay Landing -

The Victoria Cool Aid Society, with support from BC Housing, is moving
the services from the Streetlink emergency shelter at 1634 Store Street
to the new Rock Bay Landing facility at 525 Ellice Street on Wednesday,
November 3. No residents will lose their bed during the transition -
they will sleep at Streetlink on November 2 and sleep at Rock Bay on
November 3. To enable staff to complete the move, drop-in services will
not be available from November 1-3.

The new, purpose-built Rock Bay Landing facility offers many
improvements including:

o 84 permanent shelter beds; up from 80 at Streetlink.

o 23 new units of transitional housing will be available starting
in mid-November.

o Two units of family shelter are available - the first in the
Capital Region.

o There is expanded space for 20 shelter mats during extreme
weather conditions.

o A card lock system and lockers for each resident will allow
almost 24-hour access to their rooms. At Streetlink, room access was
restricted to overnight hours only.

o A large exterior courtyard, accessed through the building, is
available for residents and drop-in visitors. No courtyard was available
at Streetlink.

o There is a day storage service available for non-residents and
carts can be accommodated on site.

o Washrooms, showers, laundry, training workshops, computer
access, kitchen and dining facilities are greatly improved.

o Additional rooms allow more opportunities for group work,
counselling and client meetings and services.

o A community policing office is located in the shelter.

o Rock Bay Landing is built to the highest green standards (LEED
GOLD) including solar panels on the roof, heat recovery, superior
insulation and much more.

o Pets are welcomed at Rock Bay Landing.

o There will be many more volunteer opportunities for community

Queens Manor Housing -

On November 1, Victoria Cool Aid Society, with assistance from the City
of Victoria, BC Housing and Vancouver Island Health Authority, will be
opening "Queens Manor" - a building with 36 units of supportive housing
for adults currently without a home. The building, a former Travellers
Inn which was purchased by the City of Victoria, is located at 710
Queens Street (corner of Douglas). Sixteen or more adults will move in
on November 1, and the rest of the units will be settled during the
remainder of November. Single adults, couples and tenants with pets will
be accommodated at Queens Manor.

The building will be operated with two Cool Aid housing staff on site
24/7 until the end of January 2011. At that time, renovation work will
begin to make the motel rooms better suited for permanent housing. With
the assistance of our many partners in the Greater Victoria Coalition to
End Homelessness, we are confident that alternate accommodations will be
found for our Queens Manor tenants while the renovation is underway.

Together with the 23 transitional housing units at the new Rock Bay
Landing building on Ellice Street, Cool Aid is now operating 315 modest
apartments with 24/7 staffing -saving taxpayers millions of dollars
annually*. (These savings occur because people who are homeless require
significantly more expensive emergency health and justice services, such
as hospital beds and emergency room visits, police calls and court

Early in 2011, Cool Aid will open, in Saanich, 36 apartments for
low-income seniors who might otherwise be without housing, at the new
Olympic Vista building. Later in the year, an additional 23 modest
apartments will be opened at Swift House, in the renovated space vacated
by the old Streetlink emergency shelter.

This year marks a significant step forward for many people without homes
in the Capital Region and for the whole community. Cool Aid thanks its
partners without whom none of this would be possible, including: BC
Housing and the Province of British Columbia, Vancouver Island Health
Authority, City of Victoria, CRHD - all partners in the Greater Victoria
Coalition to End Homelessness - as well as VANOC and many generous
individuals, foundations and businesses.

The Victoria Cool Aid Society has been building hope, lives and
community in the Capital Region for over 42 years, since 1968, through a
wide range of programs including supported housing, emergency shelter,
community health and dental services, employment services, mental health
support and recreation and exercise programs for adults who are homeless
or in need of help. For more information visit or call

- 30 -


Kathy Stinson, Executive Director


John Crean, Manager of Housing

Don McTavish, Manager of Shelters

* Quoting the 2007 City of Victoria's "Mayor's Task Force on Breaking
the Cycle of Mental Illness, Addictions and Homelessness":

"Put simply, if we did nothing to change the system of services and
supports, homelessness, mental illness and addictions would cost
Victoria's taxpayers an estimated $50,000 per client per year - a
significantly higher cost than the $17,500 to $47,000 per client, per
year the Expert Panel estimates is needed to implement the new service
delivery model."


Alan Rycroft, M.A.

Community Relations
Victoria Cool Aid Society
(250) 414-4781, 383-1639 fax
102-749 Pandora Avenue, Victoria, BC, V8W 1N9 Twitter: VicCoolAid

Charitable Tax No. 12820 5069 RR0001