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I Have A Stupid Fucking Idea: Let’s Count Houseless Folks Across The Country…And Do NOTHING About It…#CDNPoli #DTES #Vancouver, #SurreyBC #FraserValley

Okay so here’s the deal. I was there in Surrey BC, when the idea of “Counting the Houseless,” (called homeless back then,) was born from the seed of “how many houseless folks did you have for shelter this year?”

We were sitting around a table talking with new volunteers and staff, about the number of folks we were helping to feed, serve, and provide for, without really having a clear idea of how many there were in the city, that needed help.

Each and every one of the people who were here, were here from the city of Missouri, visiting with their university church group. They hadn’t really had access to houseless folks before, in the way they were about to, but they were here to volunteer, to learn, and to work. They worked their asses off.

Recently an Indigenous man was found on the Downtown East Side, naked, and screaming for help. His name was Chris, and he was visiting his family, when he’d been bear sprayed, he didn’t know what to do, so he did what anyone would do. He stripped down, got milk and started pouring it all over his body to chill out the bear spray.

The cops saw this and instead of offering help, shot him six times, with bean bags, resulting in the death of this man, and now everyone is screaming for accountability, and my question is…to whom?

With all those non-profits, that means that BILLIONS, with a B, are pouring through the doors of these organizations, and yet all they are able to do is plug holes in a system that is literally designed to make the poorest, most marginalized communities suffer.

Meanwhile, we’re throwing BILLIONS MORE, at the police services, but we’re not putting that money into the right DEPARTMENTS and that’s the problem.

Instead of getting proper mental health and psych training, cops are getting weapons and protective gear. They are not being trained – and really never have been – to de-escalate violence, but to EXPECT violence.

I attended – and actually planned – an Anonymous protest in Vancouver in or around 2015, more than thirty cops showed up when the sun went down and one of them asked if we were terrorists. There was just me, with a fucking mask, did I look dangerous? No, but he was afraid. Why? Because he’d been TOLD TO EXPECT VIOLENCE.

This was Vancouver in 2011 after the Canucks lost a fucking Hockey Game.

I remember that night because the shelter was open, and many of the youth that was staying there, wanted to go downtown. My mom and the executive director of the church told them if they went downtown, she’d have them arrested.

They didn’t go, and they stayed safe that night, but HUNDREDS of people talked about how as hard as they tried to escape THE POLICE WOULD NOT LET THEM LEAVE DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER, OR GET ON A TRAIN TO GO HOME. Which resulted in drunk, angry folks, being corralled into a city filled with innocent bystanders who got hurt, and were traumatized by the event.

On top of that, there were THOUSANDS of warnings about how posting the televisions across the city was a BAD FUCKING IDEA, they were WARNED that BlaqBlock and several other “not really an activist but pretending to be,” were going to be in downtown at that time, AND AND AND that they had promised to cause trouble, AND AND AND that they had PROMISED to make sure that the city burned.

The RCMP, the Police, and the newspapers knew, and I know this because “I” knew, and I WARNED them, through social media, I WARNED them by reporting any signs that I’d seen and I did that on purpose because I was worried, and yet it happened BECAUSE THE POLICE WERE DELIBERATELY TOLD NOT TO EXPECT VIOLENCE.

With more than 2 million people all in the downtown core of Vancouver, in a small space. This is how big Downtown Vancouver is.

Now, all this being said, when it comes to what happened this week to the Indigenous man who was murdered by the VPD, I have only one question, why was it with more than 2+ million expected in the Downtown Core in 2011, did you do nothing, because we watched on LIVE TELEVISION, while you forced people to gather in large groups, blocking off their exits so you could get pictures of their faces, and didn’t let off a single shot.

Why was THIS person worth killing?

When I had my panic attack in or around 20-whatever, the Police showed up, and they listened to me rant, and rave and scream, they listened to me keeping THEM calm, and they didn’t pull their guns, why was I different?

No, this isn’t just about the cops, let me remind you:

Findings of the 2017 Homeless Count

In 2017, a total of 3,605 individuals were found experiencing homelessness in the Metro Vancouver region. More than 75% of individuals counted were found in the cities of Vancouver and Surrey, with Vancouver having the largest concentration (59%), followed by Surrey (17%). 34% of respondents identified as Indigenous/Aboriginal compared to 2% of the general population.  

Vancouver.ca

So here’s my question:

If we have this many people who are living in marginalized communities across British Columbia, so many that we need to have more than 3,000 non-profits and more than 26,000 non-profits in BC, here’s what I want to know:

  • Why are these people not working together as a conglomerate to stem the flow of poverty?
  • Why are we not more educated about trauma, and mental health?
  • And where the fuck is all that money going?

Though I can’t be certain, from my own experience with non-profits, I’ll say that it’s more than likely the money is NOT going to the pockets of the people who work at these organizations because NO ONE gets into non-profits for the money, I ASSURE you, BUT BUT BUT, where is it going?

If these organizations were working WITH Cops and cops were ACTUALLY listening, you’d think we’d be better prepared to deal with people who have been violently attacked by bear spray, than to just shoot them – even with a bean bag – and cause death…no?

I don’t know about y’all, but I think we need to seriously start thinking about the kinds of organizations that we’re putting money into, not because I think these people are doing anything wrong, but because I think that if we start thinking about what we support beyond more than “this is my good karma for the day/week/month/year,” we might actually start being able to help.

YES you can throw money at any organization and they’ll find ways to make that work, but if you throw MILLIONS at the same organizations over and over and over again, you’re not really helping.

The only question you should be asking when you donate is this:

Where is my money going?

And remember, WHEN YOU DONATE: I

If you write on the check or hand over the cash with a note that says “my money MUST GO TO THIS SPECIFIC PROGRAM,” the organization cannot spend that money anywhere else, this is a small, but a VERY good way to make sure they are being accountable for the work they are promising in return for your funds.

As for the cops? Y’all just need to figure out your shit, because the moment that you become the enemy, it’s really, really difficult to go backwards.

Sending All My Love,

Devon J Hall




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