Community & Global

Change for the Homeless in our Community

On Friday, November 26, 2021, Waterloo Regional By-law and Police destroyed the encampments of the homeless living at Charles and Stirling to evict them. People were reported to have been seen crying and holding one another while their homes and belongings were brutally destroyed. This ignited many questions by concerned citizens and soon-to-be protesters. 

Mayor of Kitchener, Barry Verbanovic, appeared caught off guard by what had happened after learning about it through social media. He was quoted saying, “This is not consistent with what I understand encampment protocols to be. I have asked ROW senior admin for a full review of this incident and report to council.”

Laura Mae Lindo, an ONDP MPP, had many things to say in her Instagram post caption: “We say we want to build a community of care and then behind closed doors people in leadership allow this to happen?”

As a result, on the following Sunday, approximately two hundred people in the Kitchener-Waterloo area attended a protest at the corner of Charles St. E and Stirling Ave. Many different people told stories of how their lives were impacted by homelessness. There were quite a few tears in the eyes of the people that had gathered. As one of the protesters there that day, I must say I was inspired to help make a difference in the lives of the people who were directly impacted by the cruel actions of the region. 

Many of the signs that protesters had brought are currently on display on a wall near where they had gathered. Messages that were written on the signs included, “Does this solve homelessness?”, “Stop criminalizing homelessness”, “Being homeless is not a crime”, and so many more. The blankets, sleeping bags, tents, and cash that were brought to the show of support have been given to a non-profit organization that works with the homeless. 

So what can you do to help? I am aware this is a heavy topic that needs to be addressed and so here are some things you can do to help the homeless in our community:

  1. Do you have any old clothes or blankets in good condition lying around that you don’t need anymore? Visit your local community center and drop them off! This is better than Goodwill or similar stores because then the homeless and other poverty-stricken people don’t have to pay for their necessities, especially as we approach winter. 
  2. You can also volunteer your time at soup kitchens or food banks. This not only helps the homeless but also helps you in getting your mandatory volunteer hours! 
  3. Money is also a big help for people who are homeless and/or unable to work. You can donate to charities that help give resources to homeless people.

Overall, the main thing you can do to help is to be kind. A kind smile after a hard day can make a world of difference. “Everyone deserves to be treated with love, care and compassion.”

-Laura Mae Lindo

 

By Mary McKay

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