Doug Smith never thought he’d be homeless. He had a stable job and a steady income. All it took was an injury to lose both. It wasn’t long before he lost his home, too.
In just a few short steps, he was living on the streets in Abbotsford, B.C.
Doug expected to face challenges while on the street. What he never imagined were the slashed tents, confiscated possessions, and pepper spray attacks that made finding a safe place to sleep impossible.
But that’s just what happened to Doug and countless other homeless people who have been the target of police and city staff in Abbotsford who, rather than trying to help, seem to simply want him—and everyone else like him —- to just go away.
Doug refused to go away. Instead, he fought back. He joined with others in a group called the Drug Wars’ Survivors (DWS) to challenge the city bylaws that have made homelessness a crime and effectively made their existence illegal.
Doug, along with the rest of the members of DWS, are challenging those bylaws at the BC Supreme Court.
Today, Doug will have his experiences heard in court as part of this ground breaking lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of city bylaws that have endangered his and others’ lives.
If DWS is successful, it won’t just change Doug’s life. Governments will be compelled to shift away from policing and criminalizing homelessness, and start working towards long-term and sustainable solutions for housing those without homes.
Thanks to Jackie Dives for the video