I’ve been in Victoria BC with our National Advisory Board reviewing our work here. It was a delightful experience to hear of the transforming work that goes on in BC’s capital city. The program which really caught my attention today was that of our work with men coming out of incarceration after long sentences. Some of these men were incarcerated at 17 or 18 years of age after coming through the foster system.
Anyone who would have given them instruction on how to live, how to work in our society, and thrive was not there in those years of development. As a result, they come out of prison at 50 or 55 years of age without any working knowledge, for example even how to use a cell phone or have a bank account. Our program works with them to allow them to learn these skills so they can be successful in reintegration. Our receptiveness rate is the lowest in the province.
It’s inspiring to hear these stories and to meet some of the people involved.
After our meeting, I walked back from our last location to the hotel and enjoyed a warm and sunny day in Victoria. It’s easy to see why people live here or would like to live here!
But the downside to everyone wanting to live here is what is happening in the housing market. Prices are through the roof. In fact, on my flight from Edmonton to Victoria a young man (early 30’s) who is a VP for Transformation for an IT company. Let me come back to where this story goes but pick up on the title of VP for transformation for a minute. Transformation is a strong buzzword right now, many organizations are hiring people who know how to lead transformation. But transforming an organization is only half the story. A transformation that doesn’t help people is only part of the need of the world. The Salvation Army declares we want to be a transforming influence in our communities – having effective programs is one way of fulfilling that. We must be involved in our neighbourhoods.
Back to my friend on the plane – the VP – he was flying back to Victoria to get his car and things. He told me that he and his girlfriend had been trying to buy a house in Victoria. After several bids of several houses, their final attempt was to bid $100K over the asking price of the house. The couple who bought the house bid $250K over asking. With that, they decided to leave Victoria and move to Alberta.
After our meeting today I decided to walk back to the hotel. Along the way, I took some pictures.
By the end of the harbour I stopped a took this little video. It is a beautiful place – if you can afford it.