Video puts a face on Yukon homelessness

The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition hopes a new video production will open minds and change perspectives on homelessness in the territory.

The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition hopes a new video production will open minds and change perspectives on homelessness in the territory.

The five-minute video opens with slick music and footage of artists beginning to paint a mural. Overlaid text presents some statistics about Yukon homelessness, and then a voice kicks in.

“You want to know trauma? I can tell you trauma.”

The coalition spent half a year speaking with people in the territory who have experienced homelessness for the project, said Kate Mechan with YAPC.

The biggest surprises for her were how willing people were to share their stories, and how eager they were to talk about solutions, she said. “It was a really important part for the community to hear, is that people who are homeless are thinking about what they need; and they know what they need better than anyone else.

“What we hope it does for the community is show the range of faces, and that it’s not just single First Nation men, for example – that it is women, that it is young people, that it is First Nations and non-First Nations, young and old.”

While struggles can be individual, it is the structure of social support systems that are failing these people, said Mechan.

“It’s a revolving door. It’s really, really frustrating. And just the pain around the level of blatant discrimination that people are facing, and violation of their human rights. Just as humans, one human to another, the way people are treated is pretty atrocious because of the way they look, or a reputation that they might have attached to them.”

The video can be watched online by searching “A Voice on Homelessness in Yukon” on Vimeo.

A companion flyer produced by the anti-poverty coalition suggests ways people can act to make a difference, including listening to people who have been homeless and connecting with organizations that work with vulnerable people.

The coalition has also recently received funding for three projects related to food security in the territory.

The organization plans to map food systems and the relationships Yukoners have with them, explore the feasibility of a garden tool lending library, and look into a coupon system that would help low-income Yukoners buy local fruits and vegetables.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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