Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Community dialogues seek to direct housing policy

A set of community dialogues put on by a small Vancouver theater group will give community members a chance to propose potential solutions to homelessness in the city, and actually have them heard by the people making housing policy.

A moderation of a traditional panel discussion, the dialogue sessions set to take place next week at the Firehall Arts Center will feature short presentations from panelists including city councilors, people working in community and business development, city planners, representative from BC housing, and people who have experienced homelessness.

The microphone will then be turned over to audience members to continue the discussion aimed at finding solutions.

“It’s important to have a real interaction,” said Dafne Blanco, community outreach coordinator for Headlines Theater, the community-based, issue-oriented theater company hosting the sessions.

“It’s really important that we have not only the panelists, but in the audience we have people who have connections to the issue as well. Really the focus is not to talk about what has been done, but what can be done in the future, and how do we move forward from here,” she said.

Each daily session will focus on one specific topic, including location—where affordable housing solutions should be built—financing, and necessary supports and services, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday respectively.

Contributions from both panelists and audience members will then be recorded, transcribed, and put into a Community Action Report that the group will distribute to the government and organizations working with the issue of homelessness. The hope is that that the contents of the report will help contribute to development of policies, said Blanco.

Organizations that have already signed written agreements to receive the report for their research include The Mental Health Commission of Canada, BC Housing, The City of Vancouver, The Greater Vancouver Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness, RainCity Housing, and Coast Mental Health.

Now on their third theatrical venture aimed at creating policy, past Headlines projects include Practicing Democracy in 2004, and Here and Now in 2007, which used audience-interactive theater to inform policy-makers in the areas of poverty and gang violence.

The dialogues are being held as part of the after homelessness… Forum Theatre project.

Christine McLaren reports for The Tyee.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus