A new film series released to coincide with Homeless Action Week shows Penticton through the eyes of the people who live on the city’s streets.
Displaced: Living In The Shadows, produced by umbrella group 100 More Homes Penticton, is aimed at ending the stigma surrounding homelessness by hearing directly from those who have experienced it.
The first video – they all run about eight minutes and are available to watch free online – follows Tim on a wintry day as he takes shelter under a bridge to smoke speed, which he says “keeps the cold off.”
Tim then shows the camera operator a bridge on Penticton Creek in the downtown core where steel bars now prevent people from taking shelter underneath the structure.
“It almost makes me cry, because it’s sad. People go in there to take refuge, right? And they lock us out from that,” says Tim.
As he goes on to note, though: “You can’t push homelessness out. It just goes somewhere else, right?”
Dorothy says there are as many triggers for homelessness as there are homeless people.
In her case, it stemmed from “multiple traumas and not being able to get help when I needed it, and as a result of it I slowly started collapsing and eventually I had to let everything go and you lose everything: your home, your vehicle – even as far as friends and family, they don’t want anything to do with you. That’s hard.”
Even now, continues Dorothy, “I’m always moving because I don’t want people to know where I am because of what might happen to me during the night when I’m sleeping.”
Penticton’s homeless population was estimated at 114 people as of April 2021, the last time a provincially funded survey was conducted in the city.
100 More Homes Penticton features representation from BC Housing, the City of Penticton, Interior Health, United Way British Columbia, South Okanagan Similkameen Brain Injury Society and OneSky Community Resources.
The group partnered with the South Okanagan Lived Experience Circle on the project.