Many people have asked how they can help. I have some tangible and important ways that I feel would be helpful.
Harm reduction as it relates to the addict has been described as allowing the person in our care to stay alive for one more day. One more day provides another opportunity for recovery, health, and the work of wholeness to begin.
The first action is education. As it relates to the harm reduction model of the Portland Hotel Society here are 3 media links that I would encourage people joining or viewing:
The first, the Friends of the PHS facebook group.
The second, the Insite twitter feed
The third, the vimeo group has a bunch of beautiful mini-docs featuring some of the great work done in this community
The second action is my request for support for the speakers speaking to Vancouver City hall Tuesday April 1, hearing begins at 6pm Pacific. I’m one of a few speakers, number 10 in fact. We are speaking to the amendments of the recently implemented developer friendly plan intended to guide development of this neighbourhood for the next 30 years. A link to an explanation from the Carnegie Community Action Project is here. There were over 150 speakers who spoke at the original Council hearing a couple of weeks ago. I intend to emphasize the critical importance stable, affordable housing plays in the delivery of harm reduction services. Also, how the current developer climate steamrolling this neighbourhood threatens a global legacy that many in this city, not only the PHS, have laboured to establish.
This can be supported in two ways. By coming to the gallery at City Hall. Make it fun. Make some noise. Bring 5 friends. Or 10.
The second way is a 24 hour twitter campaign. In a little less than 24 hours the hearing starts. Send tweets to city hall @CityofVancouver with hashtag #Vancouverharmreduction and express your value of Vancouver’s place in the harm reduction realm. I would love City Council to have a broader sense of Vancouver’s place in the advancement of harm reduction globally, and that anything but advancing this model has detrimental effects on people’s lives globally. This is a leap for me- I’m not that savvy with the twitter. Nor with the speeches but I got up there 2 weeks ago to give it a kick at the can and I’m doing it again. Some of the feedback I received from my original essay about the PHS (which I’ll only reference for a year or so, promise) caused me to realize that the de-stabilization of the PHS isn’t only a local problem. I received feedback from harm reduction workers in other cities who expressed their dismay over our destabilization. The establishment of effective harm reduction models globally is greatly affected by the success or failure of Vancouver’s model. This model is grounded in #housingfirst (another hashtag you can feel free to include).
Thanks so much for any support you can muster