VSHA Humanist Cafe

Wednesday, February 3, 7 – 8:30 pm


James Bay New Horizons, 234 Menzies Street, James Bay

Topic: Can We Resolve the Court House Lawn ‘Super-in-tent-city’ Problem? 

Presenter: Dr. Barrie Webster

Moderator: John Pope

The encampment on the Victoria Court House lawn has become a sore point for all concerned. On the one hand, a legal loophole has allowed the destruction of an attractive half-block park space next to the Court House, the Y, and Christ Church Cathedral, not to mention the neighbours living across Burdett Ave. On the other, this small provincially owned park has become a showcase for the homeless in Victoria. As it persists, it also is becoming a place attracting those with other social justice issues.

It is Legal to Sleep Overnight in Victoria Parks


Problems with Homeless Encampments


Are Homeless People largely Mentally Ill, Drug Abusers, or Social Misfits?

While it’s estimated 25-50% of those affected by homelessness have mental health or substance abuse problems, many face different challenges. These challenges can be the product of an accident, or brought on by the ever-rising costs of food, rent, medication, and other essentials.


Should Homelessness be Outlawed?



Tent Cities


Is Victoria’s Leadership on the Right Track?



What are the solutions?

Presumably, making the Court House lawn a permanent tent city is not one of them. Is the provision of more social housing in Victoria the key?

What evidence do we have that residences for those who are homeless are compatible with schools, safe streets, and quiet neighbourhoods?

What are the underlying causes of homelessness?

Is it a logical result of neo-liberalism? Why should we care?

Do the homeless deserve to be visible or should they be made to effectively disappear, i.e., re-accommodated at some convenient out-of-the-way location?