Rotary Club of Oak Bay
Bulletin, 20 October, 2020
By Jim Hicke
 
 
President Steve called the zoom/hybrid meeting to order at 12:15 pm with 36 Rotarians and guests attending. There were 13 of our number attending at the Hotel and 23 on zoom. The National Anthem was followed by Wolf who delivered the invocation for us.
Guests Liz Adey, wife of Chris Kershaw, and Margaret Rose, Director of Philanthropy at Our Place, were recognized and welcomed, both attending on zoom.
Membership:
President Steve called on Ben Smillie, Chair of the club’s Membership Committee, for a membership minute. Ben emphasized how vital it is that we continue to attract new members even in the covid era. Ben made suggestions on how Rotarians can identify potential members. By their nature Rotarians are socially mobile and we need to seek out friends and acquaintances who would embrace membership in our Club. Think about people with whom you play golf, attend Church, meet in restaurants or provide Service above Self.
 
 
Program:
President Steve called on Margaret Rose of Our Place. Margaret thanked the Club for our donation of laundry machines to Our Place and recognized Perry for initiating the contribution. After a few further comments she introduced the day’s guest speaker, Julian Daly, the recently appointed CEO of Our Place.
Julian opened by telling us a little about his background. Having been born in Ireland he was educated in England. He recently worked in Edmonton with marginalized people but is delighted to now be in Victoria as CEO of Our Place. He addressed two questions posed by our members before the meeting.
What could politicians do to enhance the solutions to the homeless problem? He indicated that the problem is highly complex and progress is being made politically and by interested groups. Addiction and cognitive challenges are the most recognized causes of homelessness but there are a host of other underlying causes, for example family breakdown, abuse and a high rent environment. He noted that on the street women are particularly vulnerable to violence and sexual exploitation.  There are over 1700 homeless people on Vancouver Island. Also noteworthy is that there are no publicly funded addiction treatment centers on the Island!
The second question was how Our Place mitigates the concern of neighbouring residents and businesses? There are nine physical Our Place centers on the Island. In each case there is a team that reaches out to neighbours with the objective of creating good will and good faith. Life on the street is chaotic and undisciplined. Often anti social outcomes occur and Our Place recognizes this. He emphasized the role that first responders played in supporting street people. He also noted that the covid era and the opioid crisis are having an adverse effect on the situation.
Asked whether a lot of street people had recently moved to the Island because of the favourable climate Julian cited a recently published survey. Less than 12% had moved to Victoria in the last year. The vast majority of them had been residents for over five years, many for a lifetime.  
Julian also thanked the Club for their donation and acknowledged the Smile Card program. The washing machine is installed at the Our Place facility on Yates Street. This facility helps provide clean clothing and bedding for 45 people along with safety, dignity, and other needs. He covered a myriad of topics pertaining to the operations of Our Place. He further emphasized the invaluable support offered by Soap for Hope and the Food Rescue program.
 
 
Perry Bamji thanked the speakers, Marg and Julian, for their excellent presentation.
 
Celebrations Master Kris Z did a  great job of a quiz on Canada. He asked 11 tricky questions and members were fined according to their errors in answering.  Happy/sad dollars added to the donations. 
 
President Steve reminded everyone that next week there is no meeting as the Board has its monthly meeting on zoom. The next zoom/hybrid meeting will be in two weeks on Tuesday, 3 November,  when the speaker will be Eileen Grant from  Oak Bay Emergency Response Preparedness.
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