Event aims to reduce stigma around homelessness

·2 min read

To commemorate World Homeless Day and reduce the stigma around homelessness, Living Space is hosting an event on Friday, Oct. 8.

It will be held at the soccer field area at Gillies Lake from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Kelsey MacDonnell, who works as a volunteer co-ordinator at Living Space, said it's the first time an event like this is being held.

“It’s an opportunity to slow down and try to understand our neighbours and fellow community members a little better. We’re trying to show we’re all human and no person is immune to trauma,” she said. “Housing is a basic need denied to so many people and it’s often due to issues outside of person’s control.”

The event will start with a story told by a person with a lived experience.

Then, there will be an exercise to allow people to understand privilege and how certain circumstances, such as growing up in a two-person household or having English as a first language, are beyond people’s control.

The event will conclude with a debrief to allow people to mingle or “talk things out.”

“It will be a moment … to talk to each other, maybe learn from somebody who might have less privilege than you, get to know people and put a human face to the situation,” MacDonnell said.

There will be tents with resources available set by Timmins and Area Women in Crisis, Canadian Mental Health Association, South Cochrane Addictions Services, Northern College, Living Space and North Eastern Ontario Family and Children’s Services.

Friday’s event is not an opportunity to volunteer, MacDonell said. But if students show up, they can sign up for future volunteer opportunities.

“We know it’s been difficult to get hours in the last couple of years for graduation,” MacDonnell said. “So if there’s a classroom with some students who come out on Friday, they can sign up for future volunteer hours.”

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com

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