Neighbourhood Solidarity with Unhoused Neighbours
The Fairfield Gonzales Community Association recognizes the impact sheltering in parks represents for all residents of Fairfield Gonzales, housed or unhoused. 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 learn more about the position of our organization, read our Board statement.
How can I help to make things better in my neighbourhood?
Join Neighbourhood Solidarity with Unhoused Neighbours
We provide care and advocacy for the unhoused.
How we do our work
We work by taking our lead from the unhoused and working collaboratively with neighbourhoods and other organizations focused on assisting the unhoused.
Neighbourhood Solidarity with Unhoused Neighbours (NSUN), formerly Fairfield Gonzales Support for the Unhoused, formed in October 2020 under the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association (FGCA) in response to homeless people camping in our neighbourhood parks: Gonzales, Hollywood, and Beacon Hill / Meegan. We quickly began working with other neighbourhoods in Victoria: James Bay, Fernwood, and North Park as over-night camping was occurring in their parks too. During the fall, winter, and early spring, we provided food, managed donations, and generally got to know the campers. As time went on, we distributed phones provided by Bell Canada and through the United Way, and we worked with BC Housing and PEERS to ensure that everyone who wanted housing was on the BC Housing list. By mid-May 2021, most people had moved into an indoor shelter or transitional housing. From the beginning, we have focused on relationship building, and, where possible, meeting needs as identified by the unhoused. We continue this work in the shelters and transitional housing. We advocate for the best care possible while people await adequate housing. We also support people to find market housing.
How you can help
We provide necessary items to relieve poverty for unhoused people with cash donations from the community. You can donate to the group through Canada Helps here. Under the fund menu, select supporting unhoused people in the community. We believe everyone has a part to play in ending homelessness. We can help you figure out the part you’re best suited to play. Many different volunteer positions are available, with and without direct contact with unhoused people.
Do you have some time to offer to a couple living in a van who need a friendly person with automotive expertise to pinpoint what needs to be done on their aging van to keep them safe and comfortable? If you have a home workshop where you could carry out any repairs needed (they can find the cash for parts if they’re not too expensive) that would be even better.
Do you have any leads on a trailer for a couple living in a van? With the two of them and their large dog space is cramped and they would love to be able to move some of their belongings into a lockable trailer to free up space within the van. Free or less than $50 would be ideal.
If you can help, please get in touch with Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you in touch with the community member who is supporting these folks.
To learn more
- Listen to the CBC radio interview with Heather Murphy and Elaine Weidner (February 2021)
- Read the Capital Daily article about the group (February 2021)
Erin at email@example.com or 250-382-4604
The group meets via Zoom every other Wednesday at 7 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend, please email Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org for the link.
Upcoming meetings: August 4, August 18, September 1, September 15, September 29, October 13, October 27, November 10, November 24, December 8, December 22
Learn about homelessness in Victoria
More information about City regulations:
As of May 2021, daytime sheltering is not allowed in City of Victoria parks. However, people experiencing homelessness may shelter overnight in some parks from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
There is an unprecedented effort underway to move people inside through an ongoing partnership between the Province, BC Housing, the City and service providers. Anyone experiencing homelessness can contact BC Housing at 1-800-257-7756 (toll-free) to receive an application form and begin the process of moving into a safe indoor space.
People experiencing homelessness can shelter overnight in some City parks while following some basic rules. For more details, view the Parks Regulation Bylaw and the amendment bylaw adopted on April 15, 2021.
- Sheltering is not permitted in environmentally or culturally sensitive areas, playgrounds, sports fields, community gardens and horticultural areas, footpaths/roads, cemeteries or on medians/boulevards
- For safety and bylaw compliance, shelters must be:
- No bigger than nine square metres (approximately 10 ft x 10 ft)
- Spaced four metres (13 ft) apart
- Four metres (13 ft) from no-shelter areas or private property lines
- Eight metres (26 ft) from playgrounds
- 50 metres (164 ft) from school property
- For safety, environmental protection, and bylaw compliance, please do not:
- Locate shelters directly under trees and branches
- Attach shelters to trees, plants, benches, lamp posts or other structures
- Have fires or open flame appliances or combustibles, except for approved BBQs in allowable areas and at least two metres from any structures or no-shelter areas
- Remove tree branches or use City property to construct shelters.
Overnight sheltering is currently not permitted in the following Fairfield Gonzales parks:
- Beacon Hill Park
- Moss Rocks Park
- Pioneer Square
- Robert Porter Park
- Ross Bay Cemetery
Learn about stories of people with lived experience of homelessness
We recently hosted a virtual 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 tool on the City of Victoria website
- Contact Manager of Bylaw Services: Shannon Perkins at email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-361-0600
- Email Director of Parks, Recreation, and Facilities: Thomas Soulliere at email@example.com
- Request a needle pick up from SOLID Outreach by 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Victoria Police
- To report a crime in progress or 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