This work is being done on Lkwungen and Xwsepsum territory by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Acknowledging Indigenous people and lands is only a starting point; respect means ending colonial violences.
What can i do?
If you already know that things are bad for the street community and you’ve come to this website to find out what you can do, jump ahead to our page on how you can get involved.
We’ve got lots of ideas for people in a variety of situations, including if you are sick & under quarantine, housebound but not sick, or able to be out in the world. Our ideas were put together by a group of people with a range of identities, skills, incomes, and bodies. Everyone has something valuable to contribute – whether that’s cash for survival supplies or a sex worker relief fund, time and energy on various tasks, doing political work, or donating needed items. Our list of options includes things you can do autonomously on your own, and also ways you can be part of a coordinated collective approach.
We have from the start been working closely with the Indigenous Harm Reduction Team (IHRT) to support the amazing things they are doing on the ground, and are stoked to expand to provide ways for more people to contribute to IHRT’s efforts. We’ve also been working with Peers Victoria, SOLID, and AVI Health and Community Services to explore what volunteers can do to support their mobile outreach to people in the street community who are unhoused, use drugs, and/or work in the sex trade. (Not everyone who uses drugs or is a sex worker is part of the street community – those folks deserve support too but that’s not where we’re focusing our efforts.)
I want to get involved, but i want to know more first
Many people care about the street community but aren’t 100% sure what’s been going on and want to find out more before jumping into action. To learn more, check out our background information page. We’ve put together info about what’s been happening locally as well as some thoughts about how the current COVID crisis fits into the bigger picture.
i want to do something, but i feel overwhelmed
That’s totally understandable. It is a lot to know how messed up things are, and how much people in the street community are getting hurt.
Sandra Kim offers some practical tools on how to deal with feeling overwhelmed:
4 Ways You Can Take Caring Action Around Coronavirus – Even If You’re Overwhelmed
Part of the reason we created this grassroots network is to provide a way for people to have the option to do solidarity work collectively, so we can look after each other. As IHRT is always saying: “how we do is as important as what we do”. This is an emergency but we also know from other large-scale health emergencies — HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, the overdose crisis — that we have to sustain and prepare for the long haul. This includes helping each other stay grounded in love and care, pacing, accepting the limits of what we can accomplish given the many things not in our control, mourning the losses and failures, and taking breaks.
Nobody has a checklist for “how to organize perfectly during a global pandemic”. Unsurprisingly, we have made a lot of mistakes. But as people who have been part of the street community, have loved ones in the street community, and/or have worked with the street community, we know that people are TOUGH AS FUCK. The suffering is real and the risks are high, but people are, as always, resilient, creative, and amazing. People have already survived so much and have incredible capacity and determination to keep going. We can too! ❤