COVID-19 crisis fast-tracks safe drug supply

2 Apr

Local lives filled with risk have gotten a lot riskier lately. In the Cowichan region, the COVID-19 pandemic is a triple whammy for people who use drugs and don’t have secure housing. Already dealing with the opioid overdose crisis and the affordable housing crisis, they are particularly vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus. They can’t stay […]

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COVID-19: How are people on the streets coping?

26 Mar

Over the past few months I’ve talked to dozens of people experiencing homelessness on the streets of Duncan. They’ve shared their daily struggles to find food, shelter, sanitation and safety. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 public health emergency, those struggles are much, much harder.  As I reported last week, homeless shelters are cutting […]

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COVID-19 closures leave some homeless people out in the cold

21 Mar

This week, across the Cowichan region, the organizations that serve people experiencing homelessness are making extraordinarily difficult decisions. Do you welcome people in, knowing that doing so could increase the risk of an outbreak of COVID-19? Or do you turn them away, leaving vulnerable people without food, shelter, a place to wash their hands and […]

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The hidden costs of overdoses

3 Mar

Over the weekend, a man living on the streets of Duncan told me that he has overdosed 28 times on opioids. Others say they have lost count. Their survival, at times, was thanks to bystanders with naloxone kits, which have become ubiquitous in the street community. Harm reduction measures — including access to naloxone, access to overdose prevention […]

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Tax refunds for the homeless, with a side of hope

27 Feb

Four times a year, PO Box 21021 at the Canada Post office at London Drugs in Duncan is crammed full with light-brown envelopes. Inside those envelopes are quarterly GST credit payments for about 100 people experiencing homelessness in the Cowichan Valley. Clara Rempel has the only key. Rempel prepares taxes for a living. She makes […]

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Where do the homeless people in Cowichan come from?

12 Feb

Thanks to your input, I’ve spent the past few weeks investigating homelessness and life on the streets of Duncan. I’ve spoken with dozens of people, including service providers, people who are or have been homeless here, and others.  Here’s the question I’ve heard most often as I’ve dug into this topic: Where do the homeless people […]

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