The Greater Victoria’s Coalition to End Homelessness’ “Unacceptable” social media campaign is taking Victoria by storm. Featuring stereotypical images of homelessness – a lived-in car, a messy couch, a park bench, a shelter mat – the Coalition prompts individuals to acknowledge the unacceptability of homelessness by watching and sharing their video, and tweeting and posting to their facebook site.
The Radical Health Alliance takes issue with this campaign. The Coalition has missed an opportunity to highlight what is truly unacceptable when it comes to being homeless.
“Unacceptable” focuses the camera on people who are experiencing homelessness and erases both the unacceptable levels of privilege in Victoria and the many ways that people who are homeless are further marginalized. The Coalition contributes to stigmatizing people who are homeless and living in poverty through their chosen images. For example, resourceful coping strategy such as sleeping in a car are placed next to the word “Unacceptable.”
RHA wants to talk about what’s really unacceptable in Victoria.
RHA has launched a counter-campaign to raise awareness about the effects of marginalization and the root causes of poverty and homelessness. This includes the criminalization of poverty such as the harassment of street involved people by police, bylaw officers and security guards; unacceptable levels of privilege; bylaws that limit movement of street-involved people in public/private space; denials of health services and more.
RHA’s “Jam Unacceptable” photos will go up starting March 18, 2013. We will be tweeting and posting, and also printing to distribute amongst the community who will not access social media sites. Stay tuned!