Homeless advocates and community supporters are collecting items to help the region’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens as winter approaches.
“We’re collecting hats, gloves and socks, which are always greatly needed,” said Andrew Wynn-Williams, executive director of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. Travel-sized toiletries and pet food are among other items needed. “We’re also trying to promote the collection of USB drives. They’re a portable way for people to store their memories and important documents.”
So far, there are about 25 collection drives at workplaces such as the University of Victoria, B.C. Ferries and Victoria City Hall. Items can be dropped off at Anawim House, 973 Caledonia Ave., from Oct. 15 to 18.
The items will be distributed to nearly 1,000 people on Oct. 21 as part of the seventh annual Project Connect event. The one-day fair at Our Place brings together service providers, from tenant advocates and addictions services to health providers and legal aid, to offer a one-stop shop for information and help.
A popular part of the event are the on-site services, such as hair and foot care, pet care, identification assistance, bicycle repair and portrait-taking.
“It was fascinating how important portraits became last year,” said Wynn-Williams. “People would go downstairs, get a haircut and then get their picture taken.”
The kickoff for the Project Connect collection drive coincides with Homelessness Action Week, Oct. 12 to 18. During the week, shelters and community centres will be open to the public to see firsthand. There will also be a mayoral all-candidates meeting to discuss homelessness, housing and poverty in Victoria on Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Downtown Activity Centre, 755 Pandora Ave.
For information, go to victoriahomelessness.ca.