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Good morning. Wendy Cox in Vancouver here.

It’s been a week of grim news: A fabulously wealthy couple was caught posing as itinerant motel workers in a successful effort to jump the queue and get a vaccine in a remote Yukon community. They’ve been fined.

Canada has clamped down on international travel, which in the opinion of many, comes too late. But B.C.’s public health officer continues to warn that any travel at all – whether interprovincial or even within the province – poses a risk and should not be undertaken.

In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney did an abrupt turnaround when he said Friday afternoon that his province would ease the rules governing pubs, restaurants and gyms by the second week of February. The news, welcomed in some quarters, comes nonetheless after his government spent a week explaining why the restrictions should continue.

Time for an antidote: This weekend, we’ve got two pieces that should inspire some hope.

Vancouver reporter Xiao Xu spoke to a mom in New Westminster, a Vancouver suburb, who had been searching for a way to make Chinese New Year relevant to her two-year-old son. The little boy is fascinated with Halloween and Christmas and Elaine Su had hoped the Lunar New Year would offer her a chance to introduce Ellis to his family’s own culture.

This year, though, there can be no loud dragon dances, nor gathering to eat among friends and neighbours.

Ms. Su realized all she could do to celebrate was walk with Ellis to look at the Chinese decorations traditionally hung in doorways: red lanterns, banners and diamond-shape red posters with the Chinese character “Fu,” representing good fortune or happiness. But the Sapperton neighbourhood isn’t Chinatown: Most of the neighbourhood is white. Ms. Su needed some help.

So she wrote a letter to her neighbours, asking them to put up decorations to create some festive cheer. “I would love for him to feel like he is not alone in his celebrating and that others are excited about his culture too.” Besides the letter, she also delivered a flyer detailing the meaning of the decorations and the proper way to hang them.

She expected a few of her neighbours would accept the invitation, but as of Friday, she had received more than 70 responses – about half of the households in the community, she noted.

Tasha Henderson lives down the street from Ms. Su. On her front door, there hangs a “Fu” and a pair of cartoon oxen, the zodiac of 2021; in the front porch, she has also put up a big red lantern and two streamers of fish ornaments symbolizing abundance and prosperity.

“It was exciting to have an invitation because I wouldn’t have thought that that was maybe appropriate for me to do before,” Ms. Henderson said.

In a year that has been filled with more overt anti-Asian racism fuelled by the pandemic, Ms. Su said the support she received from her community is a reason for hope.

“To feel your community back you up and back up your desire to celebrate loudly and proudly your culture is not a small win. It’s a pretty beautiful, big thing,” she said.

In Duncan, B.C., a dozen people who had been homeless earlier this month have just recently settled into their new, tiny houses.

As Frances Bula writes, the tiny houses are the culmination of two years of work, starting with a question to homeless people themselves: How would you like to live?

They said a small cluster of simple sleeping cabins would be great. That way, they’d have a few others around for some protection but not so many that it would become a chaotic, unregulated camp.

Last Friday, 12 people moved into the first cluster of little sleeping cabins built on a downtown city parking lot. The eight-foot-by-eight-foot rooms have a window, a door, a plug, an electric baseboard heater and a bed. Another two clusters are in progress. Cost: a little less than $7,000 a cabin.

That idea is the latest advance in the effort to tackle homelessness, as even temporary modular housing, seen a few years ago as a revolutionary new approach, is now viewed as too expensive and too slow to build given the disaster unfolding in many cities.

The cabin villages need rules and oversight or they won’t work. It costs almost $52,000 a month for security guards every night. But it ensures that everyone feels safe. There are common washrooms provided and meals are brought in, as they have been for the area’s tent camps of homeless people since spring.

Duncan’s cabins for homeless people are a first for a B.C. city, but they won’t be the last as cities, philanthropic organizations, businesses and private individuals are increasingly looking for ways to provide homeless people with options besides sleeping outside or in crowded shelters, while waiting years for a subsidized apartment.

This is the weekly Western Canada newsletter written by B.C. Editor Wendy Cox and Alberta Bureau Chief James Keller. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was forwarded to you from someone else, you can sign up for it and all Globe newsletters here. This is a new project and we’ll be experimenting as we go, so let us know what you think.