Shea Smith is one of three creators of The Homeless Idea podcast. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Victoria podcasters talk homelessness first-hand

Three homeless Victoria residents created The Homeless Idea to give themselves a voice

Nearly one year ago, three homeless Victoria residents started a podcast to show people “street life from those who live it” and create change for those who need it. Now, with listeners on every continent, the hosts are confident their work is making a difference.

Collin Spires, Shea Smith and Scott Taylor are three homeless advocates who created The Homeless Idea out of frustration, feeling their ideas and side of the story are never heard.

“We’ve got a city that’s fighting us instead of embracing a quick solution. It’s the incorporation of the people on the street that will get the answer,” Spires said.

The Homeless Idea podcast was created by three homeless Victoria residents–Shea Smith, Collin Spires and Scott Taylor. (Screenshot)

READ ALSO: Gaps in the system: Youth cope with homelessness in Greater Victoria

That’s been a big part of the podcast – instead of having city officials decide what is best for homeless people, the podcast pushes for solutions to come from those affected. Spires, Smith and Taylor regularly interview fellow homeless people and discuss city policy and bylaws.

“Our goal is housing first, obviously, and doing it properly,” Spires said.

He said Victoria has a “hybrid homelessness” where there is a mix of people from those struggling with mental health and addictions to those who have had full careers but stumbled upon hard times. Spires said he spent 23 years in business.

READ ALSO: Housing, homelessness and affordability top concerns in Greater Victoria: Vital Signs report

To him, homelessness is a national embarrassment for what he describes as an otherwise “incredible country.” “What we’re going to do 20, 25 years from now is look back and say ‘we treated the homeless like what?’,” Spires said. “It’s not Canadian. It’s not anything we stand for as a country.”

Referencing a Change.org petition to Save Beacon Hill Park that has received more than 27,000 signatures since June, Spires said if each of those people had donated just one dollar each month they could already be implementing solutions.

The hosts are hopeful though. In recent months a partnership between the City of Victoria and the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness has resulted in more in-person consultation with homeless people and the city has committed to having everyone housed by March 31, 2021.

The hosts are also working on season two of their podcast.

READ ALSO: Case of missing Vancouver Island woman inspires new true crime podcast


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

City of VictoriaGreater VictoriaHomelesshomeless housingHomelessnessHousing and Homelessnessopioid crisisPodcastPodcaststent city

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow, a kitten belonging to a Victoria family, was rescued by firefighters on Thursday after she got stuck in a basement drain pipe. (City of Victoria/Twitter)
Victoria kitten stuck in basement drain pipe rescued by firefighters

Willow the cat on the mend, owner feeling ‘enormous gratitude’

(Black Press Media file photo)
Blue-green algae bloom confirmed in Elk Lake, water-based activities not recommended

Blue-green algae can be lethal to dogs, cause health issues for humans

Victoria police arrested a man Jan. 15 after he rammed his minivan into an occupied police vehicle. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested for ramming minivan into occupied police vehicle

Man caught after fleeing, crashing into cement retaining wall

Mayor Rob Martin and Costa Canna president Phil Floucault cut the ribbon on Colwood’s first cannabis retail store. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Cowichan Tribes’ Costa Canna cannabis store opens in Colwood

Cowichan Tribes has one-year deal to grow, sell cannabis

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Most Read