Emotional Support Animals: We Need your Help

We need your help.

We are working on a project to make it easierSkipper the Guinea Pig for people to access housing if they have an animal. The animal could be a dog, cat or other animals that are not prohibited as ineligible exotic animals under provincial legislation.

We are proposing that when someone is unable to access housing because they have an animal and cannot reach agreement with a landlord they should have the option, as a last resort, to have a health professional indicate they need their animal for their health and emotional well-being.

If a person can show in this way that they need their animal for their health, they could not be refused housing because of their animal. They would still need to comply with the rules about having an animal under the Residential Tenancy Act.

In order to demonstrate support for this proposal we need to provide letters from people explaining the importance to them of their animals. We need to take these letters with us to our next meeting with government representatives in the first week of February. Your letter can be anonymous if you prefer.

If you support this proposal and think a description of your experience can help, please email your letters as soon as possible to Jane Dyson at jwd@bccpd.bc.ca. We will need to receive your letter by February 6th at the latest.

In your letter, depending on your experience, you may want to describe how hard it is to find housing with your animal and how important he/she is for your emotional well-being and overall health; or describe how you have had to get rid of your animal in order to find housing and how that has impacted your health. Or you could talk about the difference your animal has made to your health and how your life would be impacted without it.

Our focus here is on residential access; we are not focusing on public access in this project.

If you have any questions please email Jane.

Thanks very much everyone.

Raise the Rates MLA Challenge

Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Jagrup Brar has accepted Raise the Rates’ challenge to live on the basic income assistance rate for a single person of $610. He is doing this for the month of January. Mr. Brar will write a daily diary which will be posted on mlaonwelfare.com and there will be regular media coverage.

While his experience differs from most people living on welfare as he is in good health, has adequate clothing and will only live in poverty temporarily he will nonetheless have to endure struggling to make $610 last for one month.

The aim of the challenge is to raise public awareness about BC’s inadequate welfare rates and the income assistance system’s barriers to access. People who need income assistance should not be forced to live in poverty. Raise the Rates hopes to gain public support to encourage the Province to improve the system and raise welfare rates.

In addition to focusing on basis income assistance, Raise the Rates also wants Mr. Brar to hear the experiences of people living on provincial disability benefits. If you are interested in sharing your experience with him about living on disability benefits please come to:

Thursday, Jan 26
Carnegie Centre
401 Main Street, Vancouver
Classroom 2, top floor
10:00am – 12:00pm

 If you would prefer to remain anonymous when you meet Mr. Brar, that’s fine. Raise the Rates will also ensure that any media present will respect your privacy if that is your preference.

If you are going to attend, it would be most helpful if you could let Robin Loxton know by emailing him at povpost.bccpd.bc.ca.


New Year’s Challenge: Group Coaching Program for People Living with HIV

Tired of giving up on your New Year’s resolutions?

Is fear, low energy or lack of motivation preventing you fromSnail achieving goals? If you’re interested in making 2012 different than every other year, consider joining BCCPD’s pilot coaching program.

No, this isn’t another “get rich/successful quick” scheme. It will take commitment and willingness to keep an open mind. We’ll use strategies from positive psychology and narrative/personal storytelling to:

    • challenge assumptions that can limit your options and actions
    • maximize gain by identifying small but powerful actions
    • recognize and access personal strengths and resources
    • realize the potential of re-authoring your personal stories

Weekly sessions will include discussion/exploration of:

    • techniques and research from positive psychology, including happiness, resilience, gratitude, strengths, goal setting and mindfulness
    • life as narrative or story: sharing your short (2 pages maximum) stories on various life themes (Guided Autobiography or GAB). GAB provides new perspectives through the experience of authoring and re-authoring our stories. Stories will be written during the week between sessions.
    • ways to adapt and use these tools while living with chronic illness

Dates & Locations:

Groups are forming now and will run through February and March 2012. They are free for people living with HIV. Each group will meet two hours weekly for six weeks.

Face-to-face groups: held at the BCCPD office in Vancouver and at other locations/organizations by special arrangement. Service providers please contact us to discuss hosting a group.

Teleconference groups: teleconference programs will be offered for participants outside of the Lower Mainland. Contact us for dates & details.


Shelley Hourston is a trained coach with an Appreciative Inquiry/positive psychology focus and a Guided Autobiography Instructor. She is Program Director at the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities’ Wellness & Disability Initiative/AIDS & Disability Action Program. For more information or to register, contact her at wdi@bccpd.bc.ca or phone 604-875-0188 (toll-free 1-877-232-7400). Contact us soon as spaces are limited.