• indoubt Podcast
  • ·
  • June 24, 2024

Ep. 73: Wealth and Stewardship Advice w/ David Ash

With David Ash, , , and Andrew Marcus

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A lot of people quote the passage incorrectly and say that money is the root of all kinds of evil. They are missing one key word. Love. It is, in fact, the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil. Money in itself is not evil. It can be used for good and for God! The Bible talks a lot about money. The importance of saving, the dangers of debt, and the temptation to worship it rather than use it for the glory of God. Join host Andrew Marcus as he spends time with author, investor and entrepreneur David Ash where they unpack 6 key principles for financial freedom. It is important to get your finances in order to be good stewards of God’s money!

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Andrew Marcus:

Hey, this is Andrew. Welcome to THE INDOUBT SHOW. We got an awesome program today. We’re talking with a good friend of mine, David Ash. He is an author, he’s a leader in the business world, entrepreneur, investor, amazing guy, loves the Lord, and has been so successful in business. And I thought, “You know what? Come have a conversation with us and teach us, teach young people what it looks like to invest, how to save and how to give, and the importance of giving.” And with that in mind, it is June, it’s fiscal year-end, and we would love your financial support. We’re doing a dollar for dollar match campaign right now in partnership with Back to the Bible Canada and Laugh Again. So everything you give is doubled, which is amazing. What a great opportunity to bless the ministry to help us continue to speak life and truth to young people. God bless you. Enjoy today’s program. Well, today in studio we have David Ash. How are you doing today?

David Ash:

I’m doing well.

Andrew Marcus:

Tell us a little bit about your stories. I think a lot of people will be blown away to see where you have come from and where you are.

David Ash:

Yeah, I came from a blue-collar working class family. I’m 64, so that’s a long time ago. Born in the sixties and raised in Montreal, an inner city kid. And my family never owned a home. We lived in rental accommodation, often low income type neighborhoods. And my parents had what would be described, I guess, as a poverty mentality. My parents were both children of the Depression era, so they grew up in a world where they wanted for a lot probably, and there was a lot of fear and uncertainty and anxiety around money. And my father, for example, went to work in a paint factory at the age of 13, soldering the tops on paint cans, left school. And so their view of the world was get a job, hang on to the job, get through the month from paycheck to paycheck.

David Ash:

And so that was a world, the life that I had. I saw that, I saw them struggle, always struggling financially and never owning a home and never investing in anything. And by the time I left home, I was really clear that I didn’t want to have that. I wanted to have a better life. How to move from that to something better wasn’t really clear to me. I had a hard time in school. I had, I guess, ADD is how they describe it today. And the family I came from and the environment I came from didn’t make it easy to succeed and have the best setup to begin with. But I decided I was going to do whatever I had to do to become successful. And so I went about that journey and that journey was working hard. I was a sales guy and got into sales, went from various types of commission sales jobs into starting my own little businesses, which were sales types of businesses. And the journey began.

Andrew Marcus:

Crazy. And so tell us more. So as the journey began, you’re doing businesses, there was a point in your journey where you did hit rock bottom. Tell us a little bit about your age at that time and kind of what happened.

David Ash:

Yeah, so as a young guy, I was incredibly ambitious, worked really hard for other people as a commission sales guy, and I got good at that. So I was a good earner. I migrated in my very early twenties into my own small businesses, and I focused on top line. I didn’t go to business school, didn’t have any accounting or bookkeeping training. So I ignored the bottom line. I figured that was just details and it would take care of itself, that I was somehow special and I was gifted and everything was going to work out if I just focused on the top line.

David Ash:

What happened though is that I was scrambling, starting new businesses, jumping from one good idea, one get-rich-quick scheme to another. And what would happen is at the end of every year, the money that I should have set aside to pay income taxes was needed to start or fund the next great idea that I had. Six years went by, I didn’t file a tax return for six years because every year I ran out of money. I was always on my heels. So by the age of 28, the tax man showed up, they knocked on my door.

Andrew Marcus:

Oh boy, that’s not a good time.

David Ash:

No, and they weren’t happy. So I had to file six years’ worth of tax returns all at once. Had $130,000 in tax debt at the age of 28, and we’re talking 30-some odd plus years ago. And then that debt was ticking at 7 or 8% per annum at that time. And of course, I eventually had to go bankrupt to take care of that debt. So at the age of 28, I declared personal bankruptcy, which was an absolute tragedy, a heartbreaking experience, particularly for a young man who at the age of 18, I had a personal goal that I’d be a millionaire by the age of 30. And here I was at the age of 28 declaring personal bankruptcy. So I was at a personal financial and emotional low, for sure. I felt all my dreams had been dashed and I had nowhere to go and didn’t know where to go and didn’t know what to do.

Andrew Marcus:

Wild. So it’s cool to see your journey because where you are now is so different from where you’ve come. So you’ve obviously learned a lot throughout this process. But even seeing your upbringing and seeing your family’s lifestyle, in reading your book, you talk about these money scripts. So you would’ve seen money scripts. Did that translate into your life and has it changed? Maybe unpack those four different ones and summarize them for us because I thought this was very fascinating.

David Ash:

Yeah, so in my book I talk about, there’s a financial psychologist by the name of Bradley Klotz, and he came up with this idea of money scripts as a way of describing the way that we think. We all have a story. Each and every one of us has a story that we tell ourselves about money. And that story often is inherited. It’s not something that we consciously come up with often. It’s either inherited or formed and shaped by life experiences. For example, my case, as I mentioned, my mother and father were products, children of the Depression. And my mother was an orphan and she grew up as a foster child, bounced from home to home. So money and the fear or the lack of it was something that shaped them. I inherited a lot of the anxiety or a lot of the fear and the uncertainty around money. And that shaped me.

David Ash:

So my behavior around money, while I wanted to be wealthy as a young man, I worked really hard to become wealthy, my fear and anxiety around confronting money and looking at the bookkeeping and looking at the bottom line and the uncertainty of it, feeling that it was well beyond me perhaps, caused me to look the other way and not look at the details and not be disciplined. So in this case, which led to my ultimate bankruptcy and my commitment to go on to grow in that area.

David Ash:

At the age of 28, when I went bankrupt, as you’ve read in my book, I was lost and I needed to get a hold of some financial principles. And I read a book back then that’s approximately about a hundred years old today called The Richest Man in Babylon. And this book, The Richest Man in Babylon, talks about the universal principles that govern the creation of wealth, which essentially I unpack in my book as well, which we applied successfully. And that’s things like saving, living within your means, saving at least 10% of all you earn, controlling your expenses, learning how to invest, make your money multiply, and those kinds of things.

Andrew Marcus:

Yeah, so good. It’s so good. And I wonder, the money script that you’ve seen, is that avoidance? So there’s avoidance, there’s worship, there’s status, and vigilance.

David Ash:

Correct.

Andrew Marcus:

And so avoidance is the anxiety of, “Money’s evil.”

David Ash:

Money’s greed. And the people that are wealthy or greedy, fear, anxiety around money. Status. People who have a money script that is a status-oriented script, believe that their self-worth and who they are as a person is related to how much money they have. So if they’re not doing well financially, they don’t have any status, if their bank account’s not worthy, they’re not worthy. And of course, worshiping, your, again, your self-esteem and who you are as a person becomes tied to it, you simultaneously end up resenting, wanting, but also resenting those who have it.

David Ash:

And the thing about the idea that Bradley Klotz makes about money scripts is that because these scripts, they’re often inherited and they’re shaped by forces that we’re not really conscious of, they’re dictating, we’re behaving in ways that we’re not even consciously behaving in. So when you are married, when you’re in a relationship and you’re wondering why your spouse is behaving a certain way around money which doesn’t seem logical, often it’s because of the story that they have, it’s the money script that they have. And by thinking and talking about these scripts and talking about what has shaped you in your financial behavior and putting it on the table and reasoning it through and deciding whether or not it’s healthy or unhealthy, you can come to some conclusion and then begin to defend yourself from yourself. Some people are impulsive, some people are emotional around money, some people are fearful around money, and it can be a cause of a lot of conflict in marriages as well. So understanding what you think and why you think it is the first step in becoming healthy.

Andrew Marcus:

Yeah, because I mean, finances is one of the main things for divorce or just marital issues.

David Ash:

Absolutely. Yeah, and it’s funny, when it comes to money scripts, the part that was really surprising to me as I grew in my knowledge of this area is that I would meet people who are highly educated, doctors, lawyers, people who have eight, 10 years of post-secondary education, experts, brilliant people who are completely oblivious to all things financial. And they’d meet me, and I’m a financial guy, I’m a business guy. I don’t even have a high school education. And they would be deferring to me for advice, or they would be saying, “Well, you’re a financial guy.” And I’m going like, “Bro, I don’t have a high school education. You’ve got a PhD.” With a calculator you can figure most of this kind of stuff out. It’s grade 10 math.

David Ash:

But more than that, being successful financially is more about understanding the right principles, and then being able to apply those principles consistently. It’s understanding what you need to do and then being able to do those things that you need to do on a consistent basis day in and day out. What happens though, is that often for many of us, no matter how intelligent or how educated we are, there’s a whole world of emotion and feeling wrapped up in our finances that makes it very difficult for us to look honestly at them.

Andrew Marcus:

Yeah, no, it’s true. That’s so good. So I want to just ask about the last one before we move on. So we did the avoidance, worship, status, vigilance. What’s vigilance?

David Ash:

Vigilance would be someone who would be the healthiest, I think, of the four scripts. So someone who is very concerned, who watches their financial world or their life very closely. An extreme form of vigilance would be someone who could become miserly, so they could go to an extreme where they’re watching it a little bit too close. And that’s a concern for someone who has that mindset as well. So they’ve got to be very, very careful. And in my case, I migrated from avoidance more to a healthy version of vigilance. And then I noticed parts of myself rising up and sides of myself, the avoidance side.

David Ash:

To give you one story that was, I reflect on it in my book, at least 20 years ago, my wife and I and the kids were driving around Vancouver and we drove by the Vancouver Yacht Club. And as we drive by the yacht club, I make this comment about how all the people in the yacht club are just a bunch of snobs or something like that. It was just a casual remark, and it just came out of my mouth and it was unprompted. I was looking at the yacht club actually, and I was looking at how beautiful it was and the beautiful neighborhood it’s in, and the beautiful cars in the parking lot. And what rose up in me was this kid from the other side of the tracks, from this poor home, who was looking at all the people in the yacht club and saying, “They think they’re better than us because they have money and we don’t.” And that’s the message that’s still deeply rooted in me to this day.

David Ash:

And my wife turned to me and looked at me. My children are sitting in the back seat. I made essentially a prejudicial slur against these people who are members of a yacht club, calling them all a bunch of snobs for no reason other than the fact that they’re a member of a yacht club. And she says, “Dave, what did you say that for? That’s not…” And she was shocked. And then I went on to defend myself. And of course, there was no defense. The defense quickly melted away, and I went away feeling uncomfortable about it.

David Ash:

But when I think about it today, I’m wealthier than most of the people in that yacht club. And here I was still feeling as if I was that poor kid from the other side of the tracks. And judging all these people that I’ve never met who, many of them are wonderful people, I’m sure, who do wonderful things, who contribute to their communities in great ways and who I don’t know. But this is a part of my script that I have, but by being aware of it when these irrational feelings of behaviors rise up, I can get ahold of them before they cause me too much damage, hopefully.

Andrew Marcus:

Wild. That’s wild. So I wonder, with the money script, because you mentioned 2004, you came to faith, and actually you came to faith in the same church I came to faith.

David Ash:

That’s a great church.

Andrew Marcus:

It’s a great church. But did that change or did you become aware of the money script post change of heart, or how does that work?

David Ash:

Well, coming to faith at the age of 44, so my coming to faith journey was tied in with my coming to wealth journey. I’m an immigrant to wealth. I’m also an immigrant into the Kingdom of God. So I was new in two places simultaneously almost, right? So here I am wrestling with this whole new world and this whole new reality of going from struggling as an entrepreneur, barely making it, to having financial resources that eventually set me up for life. And then simultaneously having all these resources left me with the idea of, “Well, if I’ve got all this money and I still feel empty, what’s life all about?” Which sent me on this spiritual journey, which is why I ended up in the church that I ended up in, because here I was at the age of 44, figuring that I’ve accomplished all that I would ever want to have accomplished in life, yet I’m emptier than I’ve ever been.

David Ash:

And here I am surrendering my life to Christ. I’m behind the podium in a church on my knees, crying, giving my life to Christ and asking Christ to come into my life and take it over and having very powerful sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life at that time. So now you can imagine though, at the age of 44, I’ve lived my life as a secular man. I would’ve described myself as an agnostic, but living mostly probably as an atheist, really, in every sense of the word, having been raised in the type of community that I was raised in from the other side of the tracks, being a real friend of sin and living a life like that. Now coming to faith at the age of 44, and reconciling now my faith with the person that I have been is a big job. Most of us are on autopilot every day, behaving in certain ways because of habits.

David Ash:

And now I have a sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit convicting me throughout my day, and I’m a father, I’m a husband, I’m a leader in my little world, in my business world. And so I’m dealing with all of that. Simultaneously, I’m dealing with this new burden or this responsibility around wealth. So I sold the business that I had, and I literally had to take a few years off. My wife and I and our kids signed up with a Youth With A Mission, and we did a discipleship training school with YWAM, and we went away for five months. And it took some time to find out who Jesus is and what being a follower of Christ is all about. So we hung around with them. Here I was, a multi-millionaire, successful business guy, hanging around with a bunch of broke missionaries traveling around doing street ministry in Malaysia and Indonesia and living in orphanages and all this kind of stuff, just trying to find out who Jesus is and who I am in Christ.

David Ash:

And so this has been my journey for the last 20 years. The first, I would say, 10 years or so was a real big focus of my journey, is trying to reconcile who I was in Christ and whether or not I was even worthy. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t know whether I was really worthy or not. The question I had was, “Well, do I have to give all my money away? Should I give it away to good causes? Should I go to Africa and volunteer and work in a village and give my money to whatever?” I mean, these are wrestling matches that I had.

David Ash:

And slowly but surely, as I matured in my faith and I grew in my knowledge of the Word, and I spent time with my friends who were pastors and missionaries, and I wrestled through who I was in Christ and came to get comfortable with the fact that God loves me no matter what and anything that I have or do or whatever, God knows about, and he accepts me for who I am and where I am. Whether you’re rich, whether you’re poor, we’re all going to fall short of the glory of God. We’re never always going to get it right. And no matter whether you have 10 million or whether you have $10, that’s the journey that we’re all on. And it took me a while to get freedom around that. And finally, though, I’ve been able to get some freedom around it.

Andrew Marcus:

Praise God.

David Ash:

But it’s been a real journey.

Andrew Marcus:

There’s a lot of dangerous doctrines and wrong theology when it comes to money and what the Bible says. Even a very popular one that gets misquoted is, “Money is the root of all evil.” And so people just assume, “Okay, money’s the root of all. Everything’s bad, money’s bad. It just ruins your life.” But it’s the love of money. So the status, feeling your net worth and your self-worth are together, like you talk about in the book. And so that was a hard thing for you, do you feel? Or do you feel like… How would you coach someone who’s listening right now? We’re a young adults program, so most people who are listening are probably broke, let’s be honest. They’re tuning in to figure out how to get rich.

Andrew Marcus:

But a good reminder though is you said, okay, business started going successful, everything’s going amazing, 44 years old, and you realize you’re so dang empty. People just assume that money is going to just solve everything. And even Michelle and I, we went for a walk yesterday and she said, “What’s the one thing in your life that if you had it, you could just say, ‘Man, I love my life.'” And she thought I would say a paid off mortgage or money to pay for this, that or the other. And I’m like, “Man, honestly right now it’s just if I didn’t have pain in my neck and my back, I’d feel like I could actually enjoy life and I can do things with the kids again or whatever.” So people just assume money is the answer. But in your experience having it, it’s obviously not the answer.

David Ash:

No. And it’s certainly not the root of all evil. I mean, money is an inanimate object. I mean, it’s the spirit around money and what you’re going to do with money that matters more than anything else. The root of all evil idea though, I think it’s important for all of us, no matter where you are financially, is to surrender all of you. And I think as followers of Christ, we’re called to offer our lives as a sacrifice. So daily on the altar to go to the altar and give our life to the Lord, all that we are, all that we have, and to lay it on the altar. The challenge we have is that we do that first thing in the morning and that by the afternoon, we’ve slithered off the altar.

Andrew Marcus:

Or late morning.

David Ash:

And taken our life back. Now having said that, the idea though is that God, the Holy Spirit living in us, will convict us if we’re deviating rather than, and there’s a big difference for your young people listening to this, it’s really important to discern the difference between guilt and conviction. Very different. Guilt is condemning, it’s a dark spirit, whereas conviction is that, “Oh, you made a mistake. This isn’t the right thing to do.” But guilt is dark, okay? And conviction is an awareness that the decision you made is not a correct one, and understand the difference because guilt doesn’t belong anywhere. You shouldn’t feel guilty for being successful, shouldn’t feel guilty for working hard and doing well and achieving something significant. That’s not. But you should feel convicted if you’re working hard, being successful financially, and you’re not being a faithful servant by surrendering who you are and what you have and all that you are to the Lord. Because if you do all of those things, if you surrender, no matter how much money you have, you surrender all of that to the Lord, he will direct you.

David Ash:

He’ll say, “You should be supporting this individual, you should be supporting that cause.” So listen for the whispers and the urging of the Lord, but ignore the condemnation of guilt because the condemnation’s coming from the enemy, and your convictions are going to be coming from what is true and what is right, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. And for me, that’s been my journey. I’m always, always trying my hardest to be searching for or to being sensitive to conviction because be so easy for me and for anybody else who’s successful as a Christian particularly to fall into condemnation because you know you’re being judged by the world around you. I know I’m being judged by people at a distance simply because I’m successful financially, whether they’re Christians or whether they’re not. So I have to be able to stand confidently before God and look to God and say, “Lord, what is it you want me to do? Am I being a faithful servant?”

Andrew Marcus:

Yeah, that’s so good. That’s so good. You walked through the six proven principles to financial freedom, and the first one was saving, not hoarding, but saving.

David Ash:

Absolutely.

Andrew Marcus:

So what are the other five principles?

David Ash:

So I’ll give you the six in order as we explain them. So 10% of all you earn is yours to keep, so a minimum. That’s foundational. Control your expenses. So that’s principle number two. Live within your means. So that means now instead of driving the new car with the new car loan, maybe you’re buying that 4,000 or $5,000 beater or whatever, or maybe you’re taking the bus or maybe you’re taking a scooter or a bicycle or whatever, but you don’t have a car. So control your expenses, live within your means. Do whatever you have to do. And don’t view the controlling of the expenses as a permanent penalty or a sentence like you’re going to prison. This is just a temporary condition that you’re going to have to endure until you get on your feet financially and things go better.

David Ash:

Number three is multiply. Learn how to make your money multiply. So real estate is a great one. You and I talked about real estate. I love real estate. Perhaps it’s not realistic for people at this stage to get involved in real estate, but there are other great ways to invest. Investing in an S&P 500 Index fund. If you’re in Canada, you can get a Canadian hedged version of an S&P 500 Index fund. There’s no commissions to pay, there’s no financial agents to get involved. You can go on one of the online brokerages and pay next to nothing to buy it. The average return, 9, 10% over the last several years. You’re buying a piece of 500 of the largest companies in the United States of America. These are like the best of breed. You’re buying a piece of Apple, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, all the biggest companies making the biggest profits around the world.

Andrew Marcus:

Is there a danger to that with what’s happening in the world with wars and rumors and wars and whatever?

David Ash:

Well, you’re essentially placing a bet on American business. And the United States of America is the royal bank of planet Earth. So money from all over the globe flows to America simply because it has the rule of law, and it has the largest financial system. Money from Third World and developing countries and communist countries flow to America to the largest stock exchanges because it’s a trusted financial system. And it has businesses that can absorb it. So if you believe in American business, if you believe in the top 500 companies in America, essentially the companies that really grease the wheels of American life, then I would place that bet. And there’s great books to read, and I reference them in the book as well.

David Ash:

I invest heavily in the S&P 500 Index. Warren Buffet strongly recommends it as a great know nothing investment way. It’s making your money multiply, protecting your wealth from loss. And that’s just being a good steward. Spending time, learning how to invest, taking time, reading, growing in your knowledge of the areas that you’re going to invest in. I make it a, because I’m a full-time investor, of course, it’s my job to study the various ways to invest and to test my assumptions and theses and always grow in my knowledge of that area.

David Ash:

Owning your own home is one of the principles. That’s principle number five. And number six, increase your ability to earn. And we’ve talked about number six already as one of the key principles. So that’s, if you have to, get an extra job, get a part-time job, or whatever job you’re in, go the extra mile. I mean, some people show up at work and they go, “Well, I’m only making 20 bucks an hour, whatever I’m making. Why should I work hard?” Well, that’s not the way to approach your job. Go in, whatever you’re being paid, give whatever you’re doing a hundred percent. In fact, go the extra mile. And then when your employer is looking for someone else to move up the ladder or to give overtime to, they’re going to think of you because they’re going to see someone who is prepared to commit and to work hard and go the extra mile.

David Ash:

So increase your ability to earn, which means always look for ways to increase whatever your hourly wage is or your income potential is, which might mean moving to another job, getting more education, whatever the case may be. And increasing your ability to earn sometimes might mean sacrifice. Like as a young man, for myself, for example, I moved around a lot. I moved all over Canada chasing better opportunities. So I wasn’t anchored to a community, and I wasn’t saying, “I’m going to stay here.” I mean, if I had to go to Timbuktu, because if I could make four times more in Timbuktu, I’d be gone to Timbuktu because in my mind I said, “Well, I’m going to sacrifice. I’m going to go that extra mile for the next 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 years, make that extra, save it, and then maybe I’ll come back and I’ll be here.” But that’s increasing your ability to earn, and that, again, involves some sacrifice. So that’s a summary of the six principles.

David Ash:

Remember that these principles are timeless. They work, they work over time. So it requires persistence and determination. So if you apply these kinds of principles that you’ll read about in my book consistently, whatever situation you’re in, you’ll be able to work yourself out of over time. Most people overestimate what they can do in a short period of time, and they underestimate what can be done over a longer period of time. So take a longer view. Do the right thing every day, and the future will take care of itself. But don’t be discouraged. No matter who you are, no matter where you’re from, no matter how challenging your financial circumstances are, if you apply these kinds of principles, your financial future can change.

Andrew Marcus:

Well, David, thank you so much for joining us on today’s program.

David Ash:

Happy to be here.

Andrew Marcus:

Hey, thanks so much for joining us today. For more great content, check out THE INDOUBT SHOW on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever you stream your podcasts. We hope you enjoyed it today. Feel free to check out indoubt.ca. We have some great resources available to you. Have an awesome day.

Andrew Marcus:

Hey, thank you so much for tuning in today’s program. I want to remind you that this month is our fiscal year-end, and in partnership with Back to the Bible Canada and Laugh Again, we are doing a dollar for dollar match campaign. This is a significant time for us to end the year strong and launch into a new year of ministry. Thank you so much for your support. You can go to indoubt.ca or call 1-800-663-2425. God bless you, and thank you so much.

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David-Ash-God-Money-Wealth-Stewardship

Who's Our Guest?

David Ash

David Ash is a full-time investor, seasoned entrepreneur, and author. He owns the Sportsplex Ice Hockey Arenas in Langley, BC, where he and his family have lived for over twenty-five years. After declaring personal bankruptcy at twenty-eight, David re-evaluated his finances and achieved financial independence. In his book, “Simple Wealth – The Six Proven Principles for Financial Freedom,” he shares his journey from bankruptcy to prosperity. David is also an advocate for transitional housing programs in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and a long-term supporter of the Wagner Hills Farm Society in Langley, BC
David-Ash-God-Money-Wealth-Stewardship

Who's Our Guest?

David Ash

David Ash is a full-time investor, seasoned entrepreneur, and author. He owns the Sportsplex Ice Hockey Arenas in Langley, BC, where he and his family have lived for over twenty-five years. After declaring personal bankruptcy at twenty-eight, David re-evaluated his finances and achieved financial independence. In his book, “Simple Wealth – The Six Proven Principles for Financial Freedom,” he shares his journey from bankruptcy to prosperity. David is also an advocate for transitional housing programs in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and a long-term supporter of the Wagner Hills Farm Society in Langley, BC