Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Windermere Law 12 students take action on homelessness

Homeless-Clothing-Drive-Windermere-web

All proceeds from the Windermere Law 12 clothing drive go to the local Morning Star Program, which helps the homeless. Photo submitted

Clothing drive to support the Morning Star program

BY KATIE FRAIN

The homeless, housing and affordability crisis at an all-time high:

  • The most recent homeless count found that there are 828 more people who identify as homeless in Vancouver. This is an astounding 30% increase since 2014, which is the highest increase to date in Vancouver.
  • The number of homeless seniors (55 and over) went up by 185, which makes up 23% of the homeless population.
  • The crisis has particularly affected the Indigenous population. Metro Vancouver found that 34% of the homeless population identify as Indigenous, despite making up a mere 2.5% of the overall population.

The Morning Star Program, located at Collingwood Neighbourhood House, is dedicated to helping low-income families and individuals that have been affected by the housing and homelessness crisis in Vancouver. Staff provide recreational, educational, social and cultural programs for members of the community. They offer everything from day camps for children, support for Indigenous people, services for seniors, and food security programs such as shower and breakfast programs and rooftop gardening.

Morning Star gives so much to our community, and it’s time we give back, to aid them in supporting people affected by the housing and homeless crisis that has struck citizens all across Metro Vancouver.

Clothing drive

Law 12 students from Windermere Secondary School are hosting a clothing drive from October 10 to 20, 2017, to assist members of our community who are vulnerable to poverty. They are also hosting an educational campaign on housing, homelessness and the affordability crisis in Vancouver and will be studying long-term issues around affordability and renting in Vancouver.

The class is looking for new socks and underwear, new toiletries such as toothbrushes and soap, and lightly used clothing cleaned and ready for use. Donations can be dropped off at Room 211 at Windermere Secondary School, or directly to the Collingwood Neighborhood House. All proceeds will be going straight to the Morning Star Program, so come on down and support those who need your help.

Katie Frain is a student in the Law 12 class at Windermere Secondary.

Time is ticking on the homelessness problem

BY ALYSSA YAN AND CINDY CHEN

Homelessness isn’t “necessary.”

It’s a problem that policymakers can address and take action to improve the situation. Despite that, homelessness is still on the rise in Canada, specifically in Metro Vancouver where the number of homeless people rose up 30% this year, as compared to the most recent count in 2014.

More than 1,032 people are unsheltered, sleeping in doorways and alleys, or simply couchsurfing in Metro Vancouver. Furthermore, an additional 2,573 people are living in homeless shelters or transitional houses.

Too many Canadians are feeling the effects of the ever-growing housing crisis, and it’s time to take assertive action on homelessness!

Causes of homelessness

With nearly one in every 300 residents homeless in Vancouver, what is the main cause of homelessness?

The main cause of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing – due to rising housing prices and the average house in Metro Vancouver costing around $860,000, according to the Globe and Mail. This leaves most people scurrying to find a place to rent. Even while renting, an average person living with a roommate can start paying at $2,000+. That hefty price tag doesn’t even include taxes, student loans and personal needs, so imagine the price of living alone.

That leaves most Vancouverites needing to make $50,000+ per year, per person in order to even have enough money to pay rent. That kind of money is only achievable for a fraction of people, resulting in more homeless people in Vancouver than any other cities in British Columbia.

Alyssa Yan and Cindy Chen are students in the Law 12 class at Windermere Secondary.

Alarming homelessness numbers – No end in sight but there’s help around the corner

BY CHRISTAL DO

Homelessness is a rising issue in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, and it’s no secret. There are so many keys that factor into the cause of people ending up on the streets. However, all but one is very obvious; housing affordability.

This year’s homeless count has skyrocketed due to lack of income and the outrageous housing costs of the real estate market. According to the same survey, the report counted 3,605 homeless people in total–a 30% increase since the last report in 2014. Yet, this number doesn’t include those who don’t seek help from public services, or are living in the crooks and nannies of places where volunteers aren’t able to find them.

According to Vancouver Sun (Sept. 15, 2017), “Vancouver rental cost for one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver is now $2,020.” It’s going to get even harder for many people to make ends meet. Lack of income and the sizzling real estate market, it couldn’t be more difficult.

About half of the people surveyed in the 2017 Metro Vancouver Homelessness Survey stated that they were residents of the city for over a decade before ending up on the streets. Yet, we should keep in mind that this method of counting the number of homeless people all across the Lower Mainland only accounts for those in the state of absolute homelessness.

Types of homelessness

Absolute homelessness is the “visible” homelessness that we see on a day-to-day basis, such as those on the streets.

Meanwhile, there are many more people who are considered in the stage of “hidden homelessness.” Hidden homelessness is where these people have the opportunity to stay in shelters or are “urban couch-surfers”—those who do not have a regular address and temporarily stay in another household.

iceberg homeless count

Visible homelessness is only the tip of the iceberg compared to homelessness as a whole. Source: 2017 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver

Often times, visible homelessness is only the tip of the iceberg compared to homelessness as a whole (as shown in the iceberg image, provided by the 2017 Metro Vancouver Homelessness Survey report).

In addition to this, there is the idea of “relative homelessness”—when people are one pay cheque away from reaching the point of hidden homelessness.

With temperatures dropping, and Vancouver’s unpredictable weather, shelters are expected to be packed, while many others shiver in the freezing weather. Public services such as serving hot meals, food banks, and other programs are forecasted to be jam-packed with volunteers and guests for this winter season.

Are you looking for help?

The Collingwood Neighbourhood House is located in East Vancouver, and the Morning Star program for serving homeless folks occurs every Saturday morning from 7 to 10 am. Showers, a community breakfast, clothing exchange, and much more are offered to those who seek support.

Christal Do is a student at Windermere Secondary taking the Law 12 class.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Still Moon Arts brings Still Creek to life through art, memories and history

Still Moon Performance

Lost and Found Performance: Carmen Rosen sings an original music piece composed by Isaac Rosen-Purcell, joined by youth dancers and fiddlers. Photo by Kat Wadel

BY JULIE CHENG

The sound of trickling water got louder as we tread carefully down the path. Through the trees we glimpsed a young man hopping over the water and rocks.

On this sunny September afternoon, we found ourselves on the edge of Still Creek in the Renfrew Ravine, immersed in a performance by the Still Moon Arts Society called Still Creek: Lost and Found.

The young man, Hamish Hutchison-Poyntz, tells the story of playing in the ravine with friends and making sure to avoid the older bullies who would throw rocks at them. Then he was gone in a flash, running down the stream. We followed after him along the safer path.

Still Moon Boy in Still Creek

Hamish Hutchison-Poyntz tells the story of playing in the ravine as a young boy. Photos by Julie Cheng

The performance draws from an important new book about the Still Creek watershed, which starts near Central Park and winds its way through Renfrew Ravine and on through Burnaby Lake before emptying into the Fraser River. The book, What Comes to Light: Stories of Still Creek Lost & Found, brings together artwork, poetry, historical research and archival photos. At the heart of the book are the stories, collected over two years, from local residents who lived and played in and around Still Creek.

You could say the book documents the love affair Carmen Rosen has had with the Renfrew Ravine and Still Creek since she moved into the neighbourhood in 2000.

What Comes to Light: Stories of Still Creek Lost & Found

What Comes to Light: Stories of Still Creek Lost & Found brings together artwork, poetry, historical research and archival photos.

Renfrew Ravine was the inspiration for the annual Harvest Moon Festival, started in 2003 and now just finished its 15th year this past September. The Ravine Sanctuary Garden, the 27th Avenue labyrinth and the 22nd Avenue yin yang bench were projects lead by Carmen with organizations including local artists in the Arts Pow Wow, Evergreen and the Windermere Leadership program.

In 2009, Still Moon Arts, Windermere Leadership students and the Department of Fisheries released chum salmon fry in Still Creek. And in 2012, the salmon returned to spawn in Still Creek for the first time in 80 years.

The stories of art, celebration, people and the salmon are woven together in What Comes to Light. What becomes apparent in this book is an enduring love and respect of art, nature and people can bring us all together and make great things happen.

Find more information on What Comes to Light: Stories of Still Creek Lost & Found at http://stillmoon.org/projects-2/still-creek-stories/

 

Old Ted was kind of short, stalky, had worked hard all his life … He lived a real homesteaders’ life with oil lamps in the house and water from a pump and he had pigs and chickens when none of us were allowed to. He was just grandfathered in, probably in his 80s, they thought he’d die soon so it was okay, then he actually lived to 107.

– Daniel McNeil

Still Moon Twetie Chickens

Laura Crema holds the chickens, which were made by Robin Lough, as the story of Ted Twetie and his chickens were told.

Copyright (c) 2017 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News


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October 2017 issue of RCC News is here

Renfrew-Collingwood Community News October 2017

This issue of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News is full of the many wonderful people, events and programs happening in our neighbourhood!

Get your latest issue of the RCC News at your local coffee shop, grocery store, library and community centre.

Or click on the cover image to view the new issue.

In this issue:

  • Still Moon Arts brings Still Creek to life through art, memories and history
  • A new wave of food security: Ways to improve your environmental footprint
  • Call for artists in Renfrew-Collingwood
  • Take part in Homelessness Action Week: Film and panel discussion Oct. 11, 6:30 pm
  • Robert F. Edwards visits Ghana
  • Vancouver Walk for Reconciliation 2017: ‘Namwayut – We are all one
  • 5 things you should know about the Vancouver by-election

Do you have a local story to tell or an event to share? We’d love to hear about it! Email rccnews-editorial@cnh.bc.ca.

The deadline for the November 2017 issue is October 10. We welcome story submissions from 300 to 400 words long. Accompanying photos must be high resolution in a jpg file at least 1 MB large and include a photo caption and the name of the photographer.