Housing campaign shares stories

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Salt Spring Housing Action Committee has started their “Summer of Storytelling” campaign through public outreach, posters and storyboards to be posted around the island, at businesses, markets and public events.

The group hopes to reach people who are unaware of the scope of the crisis.

“The island has circles,” said group member Rhonan Heitzmann. “There are a lot of segments of people whose jobs, homes and friends are secure, so they know that it’s hard to find a house, but they don’t know how bad it is. We want to still engage people to share their stories and to hopefully find a way to reach out past the audience that has already been reached.”

The group plans to have information booths at the Tuesday Farmers’ Market in order to get the attention of more local people. Booths will have posters with stories of people affected by the crisis and a petition that will be presented to local governing bodies.

SHAC intends to build awareness about the issue over the summer and to help it become a major issue in the upcoming municipal election.

“I’m hoping it’ll be the major issue,” Heitzmann said. “If people want to talk about governance or the environment, I hope they’re talking about it from the point of view of how we house people sustainably . . . We want people to be serious about solutions and not just give lip service.”

Local elections will be held across B.C. on Oct. 20.

Though the situation is complex, Heitzmann believes that it can be solved, even if the solutions are complicated. The end of the crisis will come from a willingness to act and to do the work necessary to make change, he said.

“We’re hoping that creating the solutions to this crisis is a cultural shift. We need to work together to find solutions and be creative,” he said. “We need elected officials who are willing to do the hard work of shaking up the bureaucracy, and I think that’s what the next term is really going to be about.”

SHAC is looking for volunteers to help with the Summer of Storytelling campaign. Those interested in volunteering can sign up at saltspringsolutions.com.

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