What's New

To house, or not to house – that is the question!

A simple question. With complex and heartfelt answers.

The video clip above and the pictures below are to give you just a taste of the original, honest and at times hilarious production of ‘Much Ado About Something!’ You have not seen anything else like this before and you only have until October 16 – two days! – to get tickets from Eventbrite. There may still be some at the door, so if you are unable to purchase tickets online, please bring cash to the theatre or better yet, call us at 604.375.9130 to make arrangements.

  • Where? Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St, Granville Island
  • When? Thursday, Oct 16, 7pm sharp!
  • How much? $10!
  • Why? To stimulate dialogue and new understandings around issues of homelessness!

See you on Thursday – don’t be late!

Much Ado about SOMETHING!

Raising awareness about homelessness through community theatre

For Homelessness Action Week 2014, RainCity Housing has partnered with the City of Vancouver, the Community Arts Council of Vancouver and local artist, actress and director Luisa Jojic on an exciting theatre project to stimulate dialogue and new understandings around issues of homelessness.

Under Jojic’s direction and guidance, a diverse group of participants have developed an original script together, using Shakespearean text as a foundation for addressing issues related to home, community, identity and belonging.

We are very excited about the coming together of individuals – folks who are vulnerably housed, formerly homeless or homeless, and those with a higher income and have housing – in order to create, produce and act in ‘Much Ado about Something’!

 

The project will culminate in three performances during Homelessness Action Week in October:

• Carnegie Centre, 401 Main St (free performance for low-income folks) – Tues Oct 14, 7pm
• Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St (tickets) – Thurs Oct 16, 7pm
• Kwantlen Park Secondary School Theatre, 10441 132nd St, Surrey (tickets) – Fri Oct 17, 7pm

 

For tickets to the Waterfront Theatre show, you can visit Eventbrite.

For tickets to the Surrey show, please call 604.961.2170

 

Check out all the great projects taking place during Homelessness Action Week October 12-18!

Events in Vancouver

Events in Metro Vancouver

This great project wouldn’t have been possible without the financial support of our partners, the City of Vancouver and the Community Arts Council of Vancouver, and the boundless energy and commitment of Luisa Jojic. Thank you!

 

Luisa Jojic appears with the permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.

 

Families helping families!

Even though you may not have a diagnosis, family members can often feel alone and unable to relate to others when struggling to support their own family members that do have a diagnosis, especially when they’ve just been diagnosed.

“I began to understand what might be going on inside our son, not just what I was feeling. My anger finally gave way to compassion…take the Family to Family course, it will change your lives”.
- a past participant

We invite you to participate in this incredible course which takes place later this month.

Family to Family: A comprehensive education course for families dealing with serious mental illness.

  • When: Tuesday evenings, Sept 23 to Dec 9 from 7:00 p.m.— 9:30 p.m.
  • Where: 3rd Floor Activity Room, 5616 Fraser Street , Vancouver, BC V5W 2Z4
  • How much: ABSOLUTELY FREE!

TOPICS COVERED INCLUDE:

  • symptoms of the illnesses (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, clinical depression, obsessive compulsive disorder) and their biological causes
  • medications used to treat these brain disorders
  • problem solving and how to cope; communication with someone who is ill
  • advice on working with the system
  • looking after yourself as a caregiver

In order to register, please contact one of the following:
RainCity Housing contact: Mei Ng, mng@raincityhousing.org (604-215-3041)
NSSS contact: Melanie Scott, Mele@northshoreschizophrenia.org (604-926-0856)

Presented by North Shore Schizophrenia Society in partnership with RainCity Housing. Funded in part by the Vancouver Foundation.

It’s time to make some space!

We are ready to take our first physical steps to address homelessness in Coquitlam.

Over the next few weeks, crews will be clearing the trees at 3030 Gordon in Coquitlam so construction can start in September/October for our newest building. In order to lessen the environmental footprint, trees will be assessed for milling and potential use for benches, vegetable planters and fencing for the project, and there’s now talk of finding ways to use the remaining bits for mulch and composting! The new greenery will include trees, bushes and grasses.

In January of this year Coquitlam City Council approved the development plans for the building, and the next step is the building permit approval. Once completed, it will provide 30 units of transitional housing, 30 emergency shelter rooms, and during extreme weather conditions an additional 30 shelter beds in dormitory rooms – all in the same building!

Providing this kind of shelter and housing has been a priority for the City of Coquitlam, the Tri-Cities Homelessness Task Group and BC Housing for a number of years. We are incredibly excited to be the operator of this building and that the project is soon moving off the ‘drawing board’ and into construction.

RainCity Housing will be providing support services for the shelter residents, including meals, counseling, life skills development and connections to community health and wellness services. Our staff have been active member of the Tri-Cities Homelessness Task Group over the past 3 years, and we look forward to working with many of the service providers in the Tri-Cities.

We will have a dedicated page to this upcoming project before the end of the month, so be sure to come back and check it out. If you have any questions about this project, you can email Associate Director Sean Spear at sspear@raincityhousing.org

Multitasking for Good!

Admit it – you find yourself multitasking every day, but what if it were actually fun? Like hanging out with friends, eating burgers and drinking beer, listening to live music and raising funds – all at the SAME TIME!!

On Thursday, June 12, folks in the Lower Mainland can join us at the Railway Club and starting at 6pm you can multitask till your heart’s content. Have you ever been to a Pub Night Fundraiser at the Railway? Me neither, so here’s your chance! This event is for our #Run4housing Team in the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k.

Plus, Will Blunderfield will be performing, as well as other great local artists! Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door. That includes entry, burger, beer and live music and the proceeds will go to specifically to our Community Meal Program for the 147 people living at Margeurite Ford Apartments. So we want to get at least 147 people out, person for person, so to speak, or a meal for a meal. Check out the Event page on Facebook for more info and how to get tickets in advance – cheaper!

Together we can end one of the last acceptable stigmas in Vancouver

It’s up and running! And we love it! The Open Your Heart website invites you to be curious, think about how we interact in the world, and start addressing one of the last socially acceptable stigmas – mental illness. Click on ‘support’ or ‘accept’ and watch what happens to the people’s lives on screen. Mental illness affects so many of us, maybe even all of us, through friends, loved ones, and coworkers. We can start thinking differently about it.

And then there are the amazing stories, full of real experiences and little known facts. All six are on the NEWS – New Evolution of Wise Storytelling Youtube channel. Here’s just one:

Check these out, and visit our NEWS page here at our website to see who made all of this possible. And make sure to share theses links and videos with your friends and loved ones using your favourite social media platforms. We think that when more people are having different conversations about mental illness, the stigma will go away that much faster.

Coming April 23rd…

We cannot express how excited we are about this! Can’t wait until the 23rd!!

Do you live generously?

“You are better than no one,” the minstrel had proclaimed, “and no one’s better than you.” – Bob Dylan

If you’ve spent time reading comments below online news articles, or overheard conversations in coffee shops, or even been presented with throw away phrases at social gatherings, one would get the impression that the general public (whatever that means) generally feel that people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside or similar neighbourhoods in other cities fall into two distinct categories: either they’re just not working hard enough, or they’re beyond help. But it’s easy to compartmentalize.

After working over 20 years in this field, the reality that I have seen is human beings – not just folks experiencing homeless or poverty, but all of us – live in between those stereotypical extremes. We all have better days, and worse days. Every one of us needs some kind of help at some point in our lives, and the reverse also is true. And I don’t mean a Facebook ‘like, I’m talking about real, tangible generosity. Lawrence Scanlan writes about this at the Open Democracy website, spending a month with 12 different charities for a year. Have a read.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by work, relationships, by life, and to shut down at the end of the day, or the whole weekend. This is necessary sometimes.

But sometimes, we can be generous; with our time, our money, and most importantly with the way we think of others.

If we think of others as neither less than or better than, then we’ve changed the conversation. If we’re generous to others, then we remove the burden of them having to ask.

 

How can you protect someone who’s “invisible”?

On the eve of International Women’s day and the week before Vancouver’s annual homeless count, the federal government tabled a report entitled “Invisible Women: A Call to Action”. It wasn’t received well by aboriginal groups and the opposition parties who wanted a national inquiry in to the murdered and missing women across Canada.

In December of 2012, the Pickton Inquiry offered 63 recommendations. Over a year later, almost all of those recommendations still only exist on paper.

What can be done right now? Most of the women living in our transitional housing program for women are from an aboriginal background. They’re inside and they’re safer than they were outside. In a few months time, we’ll be opening the Budzey Building, 146 units of housing for women, including 40 family units, bringing more women out of invisibility. This is a step in the right direction.

Vancouver’s homeless count is a 24 hour snapshot that provides information but never the complete picture. Many people couch surf, stay with relatives, sleep in vehicles, or are almost always on the move.

The majority of the people using these survival tactics are women, who become “invisible”. They become invisible because in many ways, it’s safer – for them and in some circumstances, their children.

 

The federal government has 120 days to respond to the report. That’s a lot of nights at a shelter or sleeping draped over a steering wheel. With the right environment, living inside, in one place, can be much safer than the alternative. We just need more safe places.

Telling your story is so important.

Is it time for a new evolution of wise storytelling? We think it is. Stories that challenge the way we think about mental illness. Stories that give a human perspective on the facts. Facts like:

  • In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health problem or illness.
  • Up to 70% of young adults living with mental health problems report that symptoms started in childhood.
  • Percentage of people who are depressed who respond well to treatment – 80%
  • Percentage of people who are depressed who never seek treatment – 90%

Screenshot from the amazing PSA - coming soon!!

 

In the coming weeks NEWS and RainCity Housing will be launching a website that will share stories, start conversations and connect people that have lived in isolation. Come back to this site for the link or look for it on our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

We ALL need your voice to fight stigma. The only way we can make real change is to do it together.

Tomorrow is the last day of an exhibit that shows just some of these stories. March 1, 11am to 6pm at Vivo, 1965 Main Street.