“Did you see what’s back here, Sue?”
I poked my head out the back door and sighed. My first response- my human response – was to bemoan the mess. More work in a day that was already more than full of its share of tough stuff.
My second response (the one I wish was the first one) was to grieve. What do you see when you look this “shelter”? A picnic table tipped up against a shed. A rug to cover and keep out the breeze. Some cushions. Less than a day to construct, with obvious plans to return, someone called this area out back of Why Not “home”, for a short period of time.
It isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last, that we find evidence that someone spent the night out back. Of course it breaks our hearts. The weather has been bitter the last 24 hours. Was there space in the shelters last night? Maybe. I don’t really know what problems led to our back yard being this person’s best option for the January night.
I do know that homelessness is complicated. It is dehumanizing and that there isn’t a one-size fits all solution.
And the youth who pointed out the shelter to me? He is actively fighting homelessness, in fact he has been homeless for the past two years. He just hasn’t been on the streets, yet. It’s our goal that he will NEVER be. At Why Not, our role in the fight against homelessness is prevention. We work, we fight, we love, we persevere because we think everyone should have a chance. No one should look at someone taking shelter on the streets in a Canadian winter and worry if that will be them in a year or two.
Your donations to Why Not Youth Centre enable us to press into this goal. Thank you for your partnership.