Aiza B.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver Heritage Fair

History in the Margins: Homelessness in Vancouver

History in the Margins is a study of the history of homelessness in Vancouver. I look at the strategies that the City has employed over time to deal with the issue and how marginalization has been a factor in separating the homeless from society.



What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

It was very interesting to hear about the creative strategies people have developed to help end homelessness by providing support that goes beyond charity, through job training, employment, and community. I was inspired by the dedication of people who work in these services, as many of them were previously homeless and genuinely want to help those in similar situations. I believe that these services are the first step away from simply managing the issue and towards a solution

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

One of the main lessons that I learned from my project is the importance of treating people fairly, compassionately, and without bias. A large part of the marginalization of the homeless comes from the assumptions that people make about them and this affects how they are treated. It’s also important to know that as citizens we can make a difference by supporting charities and community organizations and getting involved.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

The homeless have limited access to basic needs and yet these things are often taken for granted. By doing this project, I realized how grateful I am for the quality of my life. It also helped me to better understand the needs of the homeless, as well as the severity of the issue.