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Patrick J. on 2009.05.15


Patrick J. Schnerch emphasizes that he is not a writer or author, but an advocate who happens to own a computer. His main goal in life is to provide awareness about mental illness, addiction and homelessness to the public in hopes of eliminating stigma, discrimination and unwarranted fears.
Schnerch discovered that his writings had a potential of reaching a larger audience than by any other means. He advocates for the mentally ill, addicted and homeless through literature. The writings are passionate, direct and rough around the edges and that is the way he wants it to be.
He promotes freedom of speech and encourages the mentally ill, addicted and homeless to speak out through his writings. He is providing a platform for our most vulnerable to stand-up tall and tells it the way it really is. Schnerch claims that he is nothing more than a messenger. His work is the product of the people for the people. It belongs to them. This is their voice.

Patrick J. on 2009.05.15

My name is Patrick Schnerch. I have written a book, “City of Gardens: The Other Side of the Fence.” It is the first installment of a seven book series, The City of Gardens Collection.” The series is about how mental illness, addiction and homelessness have affected Victoria, BC. It also documents the successes and challenges the city is facing implementing its plan to house and support 1,550 homeless people in five years. The series is unique for it is based from the viewpoint of our most vulnerable. It is not Pulitzer Prize material, it was not written by a scholar and not even a high school graduate. It was an will remain as a self-published publication, funded by me with the intentions of providing awareness about these conditions in hopes of eliminating stigma, discrimination and unwarranted fears of my friends on the street. I lived my entire adult life with bipolar depression, 25 years of alcoholism and unemployed for the last 20 years. I went around the block a few times where I became literate about social services, politics and the medical system. After conquering my demons, I decided to give a voice to my brothers and sisters on the street. They have been neglected, ignored and silenced in the past. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first Canadian book and series of its kind that that represents the street people. I do not cater to institutions, community leaders or politicians. My loyalty is to the people on the streets. I believe that the city needs to look a homeless person in the eyes, listen and open their heart to see the real truth. This street level publication is a must read for mainstream society. The streets of Victoria are deteriorating at a rapid rate. It is only a matter of time before it is too late to stop it. We need the cooperation and of all three levels of government, services providers and the people. I don’t have an office to protect or be overshadowed by political correctness and protocol. I do what the upper echelon can’t do and that is bark and growl. The only way to get a message across is to go to the heart. I attack emotions to provoke thought about mental illness, addiction and homelessness. I have no concern if I become public enemy number one as long as I and my friends break the silence. The message is far too important to be ignored and the urgency is critical. Not only will this series benefit Victoria, but every major city in Canada. Cities from across the nation can have access to a written document as Victoria leads the charge against homelessness. Victoria can lead by example for other cities to adapt similar plans. I believe that the medical, judicial, political and educational systems must listen to the people who are affected the most by their decisions. Real people are dying on our streets every week and our hearts have turned to stone. Approximately five homeless people die on the streets of Victoria every month from disease, exposure or overdose. This is only a small city; the numbers are much higher in places like Vancouver. Politicians and their offices should take notice of over street people even though they can’t vote. There is nothing more precious than a human life. We depend on our governments to lead us, not to ignore us. This book series goes to the streets itself and looks at reality in the eyes. Inner torment, loneliness and disparity are what I see. How can a city as rich Victoria allow this happen to our friends and neighbours on the streets? The City of Victoria is working very hard to change things around, but is losing ground due to the lack of support and cooperation from governments and the public at large. I noticed this major obstacle during my research and decided that the book series would compliment the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness Society and draw the attention from society to support and participate in saving their own city. This book series is not about money. All 1st year profits from each book in the series will be donated to the Victoria Human Exchange Society ( to aid them in their fight against homelessness. Not only do I want to provide awareness, I want to use these books as a platform to support a permanent solution. Education about these conditions is essential to the future Victoria. It is time to take responsibility and act accordingly. I can handle being brushed off as a loony tune, but I will not stand by and watch my friends die on the street. It’s a simple choice to jeopardize the welfare of one for the lives of thousands. The government should also feel the same way if they actually feel at all. Ignoring the loss of a human life is not worth another term in office. I personally could not accept this fact and sleep at night. It has a severe impact on me when one of my homeless friends dies on the streets. As it is now, there are hundreds who have already perished and many more in our near future until we take an aggressive stance against these conditions. Our children are our future. If Victoria is going to do anything at all, they must listen to the people including our most vulnerable.
Patrick J. Schnerch

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