Street Community Endorses “Better Neighbour Agreement”

October 11th, 2013 – Lekwungen Territory (Victoria, B.C)

People who access services at Our Place endorsed a Better Neighbour Agreement for Pandora

Green today. The endorsement came at the end of a community consultation conducted by the

Committee to End Homelessness and the Radical Health Alliance. Among other measures, the

street community is calling for a “bubble zone” around Our Place, which would prevent police

from entering Our Place unless called, anti-stigma training for signatories to the existing Good

Neighbour Agreement (GNA), and the implementation of traffic calming measures to Pandora

Avenue.

Organizers had previously interviewed over 50 people on measures that could be taken to create

a more welcoming, comfortable and safe neighbourhood, which is the vision laid out in the

existing Pandora Green GNA. Not surprisingly, none of the recommendations made by people

who access services at Our Place are currently enshrined in the GNA. Instead, the existing

agreement increases police presence on the block, and has led to modifications to buildings

and the street scape to make the neighbourhood less inviting for people who are already

marginalized.

“Today’s endorsement completes the work that the City, and other stakeholders in the GNA,

should have done a long time ago,” said Alison Acker, a member of the Committee to End

Homelessness. She continued, “The existing Pandora Green GNA lists the street community as

a stakeholder, but none of the commitments made in the agreement make for a more welcome,

comfortable or safe neighbourhood for people who are marginalized. On the contrary, it further

marginalizes and stigmatizes people who access services at Our Place.”

Seb Bonet, a member of the Radical Health Alliance, added “The City, police and property

owners need to either take their vision seriously and adopt the Better Neighbourhood Agreement

or simply be honest that the GNA, as it is written, exists to entrench privilege at the expense of

people who lack it.”

Images below.

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