'Like it's home': Music space at Street Help will provide safe place to play

'Like it's home': Music space at Street Help will provide safe place to play

There are some big changes underway at Street Help, a homeless shelter in Windsor, Ont. Scaffolding covers the sidewalk for upgrades to the roof and front facade but there are changes happening inside too.

A brand-new music room is in the works so that shelter users can experience music in their lives on a more regular basis.

John Bradley Anderson has been a Street Help user for the last six years and now he'll get to play his guitar inside. 

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"I am very passionate about my music," said Anderson. "It's one of the only things that gives me a release from the day's stresses."

Volunteer Anthony Nelson said Anderson isn't alone — many volunteers are musically-inclined too. 

"We want them to be relaxed, feel like it's home to them," said Nelson. "If they have something that makes them feel great and happy ... I'm so excited about this."

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Nelson said they want shelter users to feel like Street Help is home and the music room will help with that.

"The people that I see, they're going to be saying 'Wow, this is amazing, this is great.' No where else in the city do they have that," said Nelson.

For Anderson, being homeless with something like a guitar means being a little creative with finding places to play or somewhere to sleep. Constantly being interrupted by background noises makes it difficult to learn to play. 

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"You can't live without food and shelter," said Anderson. "But with music you can kind of transition from darkness up into the light."

The renovations at Street Help are expected to cost about $230,000. So far fundraising has provided for about $17,000 of that.