I met Steen while walking through a park in Vancouver, British Columbia. Local Vancouver homeless friends call the area “The Bird Sanctuary” because of the growth of trees in an urban area. I would have never found the place if it wasn’t for Vancouver homeless advocate, Judy Graves. I am honored and grateful Judy took the time to give me a tour of the city.
Steen is a colorful character. You can see years of street life in his face. Steen tells a very real story about life and death on the streets of Vancouver. He tells us a very detailed story of how he ended up on the streets this time.
Steen says he has been promised housing befotre he has to survive another winter, but bureaucracy keeps delaying the local housing project under construction.
Steen says his friends are in and out of the emergency rooms. He is concerned about two of his friends he believes are close to death. When I asked Steen how many of his friends died last year he responded “conservatively six. It could have been a couple more”.
This is a very powerful interview. The lack of affordable housing and people dying on the streets stand out. I hope Steen’s story of people dying mess you up as it has me. Especially when these deaths can be avoided with housing and supportive services. No one should die homeless – no one!