With an overwhelming show of support from the community, Victoria music producer Jon Ede has taken on the fight to end homelessness.
He’s put together a re-recording of the 1985 song, Tears Are Not Enough, with the hopes of raising enough money to get Victoria homeless off the street.
“I don’t just want to put a dent in it and get a couple sleeping bags,” said Ede. “Myself and a friend, Brandon Clarkson, were in a situation where we were seeing a lot of people homeless, and we didn’t like it.
“Most of them don’t want to be where they are, and most are fighting either addictions or prejudices from the public. There are so many different battles they’re fighting, and they just want out.”
After seeing an article by Canadian street nurse Cathy Crowe called Socks are not enough, the original song by Northern Lights immediately sprang to mind and Ede laid awake for several nights thinking about how he could make a difference.
“Talk is cheap, but I’m in a position where I could actually do something,” he said.
After getting the approval and blessing from the original song’s writer Jim Vallance, Ede pitched the idea of re-recording Tears Are Not Enough to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.
“She immediately gave me her full 100 per cent backing,” said Ede. “She wrote me a beautiful letter, a very emotional letter.”
From then on, support poured in from all angles. Ede contacted musicians he’d worked with over the years to ask for their participation.
“I couldn’t even finish my sentence. Before I could get a chance to say my pitch, they said ‘Jon, shut up. We’re all aboard.’
“I had musicians from everywhere sending me audition tapes,” he said.
And not just from professional musicians. The fundraiser attracted the attention of Central Saanich mother and daughter, Julie and Sarah Morris, who both love to sing and wanted to do something to help the cause.
“Homelessness is certainly an issue through Victoria and Canada,” said mom Julie. “I feel very grateful to be part of the whole process. I hope that it can expand across Canada, even just to build awareness.”
“And to inspire people to do more fundraising,” said Sarah, who attends Bayside Middle School and was one of the youngest singers involved. “It’s such an important cause.”
The project inspired passionate involvement from all over the Greater Victoria area and even further afield.
The Prestige Hotel in Sooke offered recording space at no charge, musicians travelled in from all over Canada to take part, and BC Ferries sponsored one of the musicians coming over from Vancouver.
“I was approaching everything expecting ‘no,’ because money is supposed to rule the earth,” said Ede. “But it all came together so warm and so perfect, I could not have asked for anything more.”
The song is tentatively set to be released in April and Ede is hoping to see it go national. The goal is to raise enough money to build low-income housing, especially for families, and offer a host of other services to the homeless, such as free storage lockers to safeguard their few possessions while they job hunt.
“The main goal is to get them off the street,” said Ede. “We’re just asking people to open their hearts and give what they can afford.”
For more information or to donate or pre-order the song, visit eandlrecords.ca.