Bike Trailer for Homeless Victoria Binners

November 20, 2008

image - VIPIRG banner - from www.vipirg.ca
An innovative new project in Victoria distributes specialized bikes and trailers to homeless people who earn an income by collecting recyclable bottles. The bike trailers provide “binners” with a custom-built cart for storing their belongings and collecting recyclables. The trailer floors fold out into a platform for a built-in emergency tent.

“This project will make life easier and safer for homeless binners,” said Rose Henry from the Committee to End Homelessness. “By providing reliable transportation, a functional cart and a fold-out tent, this project is a tangible, immediate and empowering way to deal with a crisis situation.”

The pilot project is a joint effort of the Committee to End Homelessness, Tony’s Trailers, the UVIC Community-Based Research Laboratory and the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group.

PILOT PROJECT GIVES HOMELESS BIKES WITH TRAILERS EQUIPPED FOR STORING BELONGINGS, COLLECTING RECYCLABLES AND PITCHING EMERGENCY TENTS

Funding from VanCity has meant that the first four bikes and trailers, designed by Tony Hoar, will hit the streets of Victoria today.

“With hundreds of people sleeping on the streets of Victoria in the cold right now, we needed to take emergency measures,” stated Committee to End Homelessness activist Levi Van Doren. “Not only will it be possible for binners to collect more bottles, have a source of income and access shelter, but the environmental service they provide to the city will also be improved.”

The recipients of the bike carts will document their experience through videos over the course of the next month. The project organizers will use the videos to assess the project and plan for future phases.

For more information, photos and interviews on the MOTHERS project:

Rose Henry, Committee to End Homelessness: 250-812-0199
Tony Hoar, Tony’s Trailers: 250-744-9192
Philippe Lucas, Committee to End Homelessness: 250-884-9821

More links and information:

* MOTHERS PROJECT [article]
* Check out a *photo essay of this project here.

(*Please note that all the binners in the photos agreed to having their photos posted on the internet, however no names are posted.)

“There are at least 1500 homeless people living on the streets of Victoria. There are approximately 200 shelter beds available on a nightly basis. According to services conducted at Our Place, 108 street people died in 2007 and 106 died in 2006 in Victoria alone. Victoria has a vacancy rate of less then 0.5%, no affordable substantial housing projects have been build since the 1980s, and rental rates are far higher than welfare provided by the province.”

Homelessness Nation Victoria

To read more about homelessness on the agenda, check out the Reasons for Judgment Released on Tent City Charter Challenge [link]. The day after this judgment, the City enacted a new by-law with a 7:00am wake up call for homeless people. Find out more at the website above (Homeless Nation).

This issue was the front runner in the most recent Municipal Election. You can find out out more about the Local Elections and who won through Victoria City Hall.

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