There’s a lot of poor media coverage, encouraging the stigmatization of drug use and people who use drugs, and making NIMBY (not in my backyard) attitudes seem more prevalent than they really are. The Radical Health Alliance aims to be a go-to for quick responses to municipal health and policing policy, to offer a well-informed take on events from the perspective of folks who are on the front-lines.

January 30th, 2013 ~ Why Aren’t VIHA Service Hubs Offering Better Services?

March 18th, 2013 ~ Media Release

Community Group Targets Unacceptable Ad Campaign

For Immediate Release

March 18, 2013 (Victoria, Lekwungen Territories) – The Radical Health Alliance today launched a counter-campaign to the Greater Victoria Coalition To End Homelessness’ Unacceptable ad campaign:

The Radical Health Alliance is producing images that turn the camera away from people who are experiencing homelessness and towards both the unacceptable levels of privilege that are taken for granted in Victoria and the many ways people who are homeless are further marginalized.

Jennine Downie, a member of the Radical Health Alliance, pointed out that “people need to stop fixing their gaze on individuals who are homeless when they talk about ending homelessness. For someone who is in the situation of needing to sleep in their car I do not think it would be experienced as supportive to see their current, resourceful coping strategy next to the word ‘unacceptable’.”

By producing stereotypical images associated with homelessness, the Coalition is re-stigmatizing people who already have it tough. The Coalition has missed an opportunity to highlight what is truly unacceptable when it comes to being homeless. Bruce Nelson said, “If homelessness is unacceptable, why do people make this situation harder than it already is? Why do police ticket people who are just trying to get some rest? Why does the City pass bylaws that make sleeping an offence? Why do business owners hire security guards to constantly move people along?”

The Coalition is calling for more affordable and supportive housing as the solution to end homelessness. But where will this money come from? Alex Holtom argued, “we have lived through 30 years of rising inequality in Canada. Until we come to grips with the fact that the other side of homelessness is the incredible concentration of wealth in the hands of people who are already more than comfortable we will not make any progress ending homelessness.”