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Stereotypes of homelessnesss challenged by Vancouver artist

Last Updated Nov 13, 2017 at 1:11 pm PST

Artist Eric Brisebois. (Photo courtesy Justin Fung)

A Vancouver artist's experience is highlighting the fine line between having housing and being homeless in the city.

Eric Brisebois' basement flooded, meaning he was living in his car for a short time

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Eric Brisebois is an Emily Carr University graduate, an artist with decades of experience.

He’s previously worked as an addictions counsellor.

For Brisebois, all it took was a flooded basement for him to wind up homeless last week, living out of his car.

He says his situation is proof anyone can end up on the street.

“Even though I’m clean and sober, it still happens.”

“There are so many homeless people here in Vancouver, it can happen to anyone.”

Jeremy Hunka with Union Gospel Mission agrees, saying there’s a fine line between having housing and being homeless in Vancouver.

“With one surprise or one inconvenience, in combination with other things, you can be pushed off the edge into homelessness. And it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from.”

He says the housing affordability crisis means a rising number of people are being pushed onto the street.

“People who are homeless never thought they’d be in this situation. A lot of them are college-educated, a lot of them had really great jobs, a lot of them were never even close to homelessness before.”

“We’ve seen actors, CEOs, lawyers, government workers, we’ve seen all types of different people become homeless.”

“The notion, the stereotype of homeless people, is in many cases totally incorrect. It’s way off the mark. Once we understand that our neighbours, co-workers, people who live just down the street are facing these issues I think we’ll all be more inspired to help because we can relate to it a little bit more.”

Eric Brisebois has now found housing, and a new studio.