Sheltering in Parks
The Fairfield Gonzales Community Association recognizes the impact sheltering in parks represents for all residents of Fairfield Gonzales, Housed or Unhouse. Although homelessness needs to be addressed by all levels of government, community members have a role to play and we work on a daily basis at supporting them.
To know more about the position of our organization, read our Board statement.
How can I help to make things better in my neighbourhood?
Join the Fairfield Gonzales Support for the Unsheltered
Late October 2020, a group of Fairfield Gonzales residents started to meet via Zoom. They wanted to know what they can do to help Unsheltered people in the parks, by doing relationship-building with them. Today, about two dozen volunteers meet online every Wednesday at 7pm. They want to make a difference and support the individuals in finding housing for them. For many months, the most needed thing to do was to collect donations of survival items (tents, sleeping bags, clothing…) to help them go through the winter. Now, many have created meaningful relationships with campers.
They are also helping new volunteers find how they can help by providing orientation and informal training. Many different volunteer positions are available, including ones with and without direct contact with Unhoused people. To start, contact Virginie at email@example.com and she will get you in touch.
Also in collaboration with the FGCA, they purchase necessary items with cash donations from the community. Donate by clicking this button. You will be directed to CanadaHelps’ secure platform, where you can choose where to direct your donation:
The latest project that is currently being implemented is the Sponsor teams. Based on a sponsorship of refugees model, they mobilize residents living near parks to raise money and provide the support they need to find housing. More news to come!
To learn more about this group:
- Listen to the CBC radio interview of Heather Murphy and Elaine Weidner (February 2021)
- Read the Capital Daily article about their group (February 2021)
This group acts as an independent group, although the FGCA supports them by providing access to a Zoom account, manages the donations, and promotes their work in various ways.
Learn about homelessness in Victoria
– More information about City regulations:
The 7am-7pm bylaw which required unhoused individuals to pack up during the day has been relaxed, and at this time shelters can remain up during the day. These are the rules outlined on the City of Victoria webpage for sheltering in City parks.
- Sheltering is not permitted in environmentally sensitive areas, playgrounds, sports fields, flower beds, cemeteries, footpaths, and roads within a park
- No fires, open flames or flammable gas canisters are permitted
- Do not attach shelters to trees or shrubs, park benches, lamp posts or other structures
- Do not remove tree branches or use City property to construct shelters
- Keep your shelter site clean and properly dispose of all garbage
- Be more than four metres (12 feet) away from another occupied tent or structure
- Updated: October 1, 2020: Handout outlining new bylaws, services, and parks where sheltering is permitted.
Overnight sheltering is currently not permitted in the following Fairfield Gonzales parks:
- Moss Rocks Park
- Robert Porter Park
– Learn about stories of people with lived experience of homelessness
We have recently virtually hosted an event in collaboration with the Existence Project (Facebook page for information about events and other contents). Listen to many people’s stories and understand why empathy and sustainable help are key to find solutions to this humanitarian crisis.
If you are concerned about an activity in a neighbourhood park
Please contact the appropriate department or organization from the list below.
- City of Victoria: Bylaw Services
- To report a bylaw violation or submit a service request (parks, sidewalks, etc) you can use the online reporting toolon the City of Victoria website
- Contact Manager of Bylaw Services: Shannon Perkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-361-0215
- City of Victoria: Parks Department
- To request maintenance or clean-up in a park (garbage, needles, etc), contact the City of Victoria Parks Office at email@example.com or 250-361-0600
- Email Director of Parks, Recreation, and Facilities: Thomas Soulliere at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Request a needle pick up from SOLID Outreachby calling 250-298-9497.
- City of Victoria: Public Works
- To request removal of items that have been illegally dumped by contact Public Works at 250-361-0400 or email email@example.com.
- Victoria Police
- To report a crime in progressor an immediate threat to safety: CALL 911
- To report a crime or traffic complaint after it has occurred, you can use the online reporting tool
- Or, you can call VicPD’s non-emergency line at 250-995-7654
- Contact Community Resource Officer: Mark Jenkins at 250-888-6491
- VIHA Encampment Outreach Team
- To request support from the VIHA Outreach team which includes a Nurse and a Mental Health Crisis Response Counsellor between 8am-8pm call the outreach phone number: 250-216-9119
- Provides on site medical assistance, COVID tests, flu shots (when available), mental health and crisis intervention and support, assistance filling out BC Housing forms.
- City of Victoria: Mayor and Council