Mayor Lisa Helps of Victoria won the 2019 Affordable Housing Champion Award and helped those around her change the narrative about the homeless and remove the stigma.

A Tiny Act of Kindness Homes for the Homeless is about services and resources joining together to create a community that supports and affirms the deserving among us. This is a spotlight on one individual who has been honored as a champion for affordable housing but the transcript from the video will portray why her attitude and message is making a difference in the world.

I think the challenges in Victoria are the same challenges that every other major city across the country is facing. Rising income inequality not enough mental health and addiction supports and simply just not enough housing and not enough affordable housing I don’t think Victoria is unique I any way and all cities are facing the same challenges. I think at our root as humans we want connection we want a sense of belonging and we really can understand that we are all in this together so changing the narrative about that homeless person over there that’s someone’s mother, it’s someone’s sister, it’s someone’s father. I think when people can connect on a human to human level some of that stigma starts to fade.

I think bringing people together is easy once they see the benefits of housing so there is often a lot of opposition to a new affordable housing project that’s going in and once it’s built it blends in seamlessly, for the most part, and then people are like “oh, why did I oppose that in the first place?”

Housing is important, climate change is important, creating prosperity is important and my firm belief is that everybody needs a good home, a good job, and a sustainable community. So those three things knitted together are the basket of my priorities.

What worries me most is, not withstanding what I said earlier about we’re all in this together, is a sense of polarization and division and if we are going to solve the wickedest challenges we are facing, and homelessness is certainly one of them, we have to leave the polarization aside and find a way to come together and not just in Victoria but globally. That is what keeps me up at night, how can we be better humans?