Meet Kyla and Mark
It was a string of events that lead them to where they ended up. They are loving parents and now grandparents. They have been proud, active and productive community members in other parts of the state - and then they were humbled when they realized any one can become homeless and getting out of the situation takes a lot of work, prayer and community to rise up from the ashes of a life turned upside down.
These days there are so many negative assumptions being thrown around about what type of people are homeless. As advocates our biggest battle is often with entitled folks who don't even walk the sidewalks these days, but instead make rude comments and take pictures from their cars during their commutes or when going out to dinner or lunch. These judgemental people never really have conversations with the residents of Clark County that live outside in every neighborhood, but they will angrily tell you with shock value who and what our unhoused population is about. The question we ask is the anger and judgment they post and campaign at meetings with, is that a perspective rooted in truth or community care?
Community is made up of people of all sorts and abilities and that includes everyone, whether they are housed or unhoused. Every neighborhood has its share of litterers, drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill, criminals - and these people live here among the housed and those outside. Every community also has leaders, teachers, and advocates, and that also includes the homeless community.
This is where Kyla and Mark come in, they have been part of the campers at the public service center living in tents. While there, they worked hard and have developed a relationship with security and with all the other campers in the area to build a safe space with what they have. They help with communicating right and wrong to assist all involved, especially when some one was having a problem or wasn’t following common sense values. Being “Momma Hen and Mr Fix It”, they are always looking out for those around them.
This is because no matter where Kyla and Mark are at, even when they are homeless on our streets, they attempt to be role models and leaders. Leaders are people that set the example and model the behavior that others can look up to and realize if they can do it, so can I. And trust, us, setting the example while living outside is no easy task. But they do it even while navigating the challenges of trying to find a place to live and connect here in Vancouver.
Kyla and Mark's continued hard work in ignoring the judgements of others and instead connecting themselves with true community care and building relationships will soon pay off as they have been accepted into the Rapid Re-Housing program. Now they need to find a place within the city limits of Vancouver - a studio or 1-bedroom for under a $1000.
As Kyla and Mark have always tried to be there for those around them, we are hoping our community can help be there for them too. Does anyone have a good lead on a place matching that criteria where this couple can be a part of helping our community find roots and thrive? If so, leave a comment or pm us and we will get the information to them.
Their guidance and support will surely be missed among the campers when they finally move into their new space, but we know great things are in store for them. We anticipate that they will be supporting OutsidersInn on some upcoming events in the works, and we just know that Kyla and Mark are going to be strong advocates for human rights and deeper community care in the future of Vancouver.
~ Adam & Ren