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Workshop in Sooke sets its sights on erasing homelessness’s stigmas

Homelessness is increasing in Sooke
People facing homelessness face many stigmas, says the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. The group hosts a workshop in Sooke on Oct. 15. (File - Black Press Media)

The Face 2 Face With Stigma workshop in Sooke has set its sights on erasing homelessness’s stigmas.

Kay Martin, Voices of Experience coordinator for the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, says the first thing she learned when she began as a peer support worker five years ago was the need to change when dealing with the stigmas.

From what she’s heard during meetings for the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, homelessness is increasing in Sooke, and more people are moving into supportive housing.

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“The workshop would be very beneficial to attend, especially for people living in those neighbourhoods to learn about the stigmas attached to homelessness,” Martin said.

“Our team is completely comprised of people who are living with homelessness or have lived with homelessness, as well as many other topics.”

Those attending will have the opportunity to hear people’s journeys and share and collaborate on person-centred communication tools.

Face 2 Face With Stigma workshops are inspired, led, developed and delivered entirely by people who have experienced homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health disorders.

They share their powerful stories to create systemic change and reduce barriers by opening discussions about stigma with people living and working in the community while providing stipend-paid opportunities for the storytellers.

Face to Face with Stigma was launched in July 2019 to bring people out of the fringe and shadows due to stigma through storytelling in one-day workshops.

“It is not only transformative for attendees and the broader community, it fosters healing and growth for team members,” Martin said. “Over the last three years, I have seen the tremendous impact of Face 2 Face With Stigma workshops and witnessed a shift in the perception and understanding of those who hear our stories.

“The workshops have not only benefited the community, but they have also enriched the lives of the whole team by giving us purpose, meaning and a platform to share our message. Moving forward, our goal is to continue to spread awareness for those who have been pushed to the shadows and fringe due to stigma.”

Face 2 Face With Stigma is a free workshop that takes place on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Sooke Baptist Church at 7110 West Coast Rd.

The Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness is a collaboration of all levels of government, local housing, health and social service providers, non-profit organizations, businesses, educational institutions, and the faith community in the Capital Region. Its mission is to achieve functionally zero levels of homelessness in the region by ensuring that experiences of homelessness are rare, temporary, and non-recurring.

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About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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