He is one of our community members who help out a lot, whether it is facilitating a meeting, organizing an art project, or lending an ear or a hand. As the temperature kept plummeting, Dan asked me about opening an Out of the Cold at Davenport. He described several Out of the Cold places in the area and he described them so well that I asked him if he volunteered in them as well. “No Tina,” he replied, “I use them.” Dan is one our “hidden homeless”.
He described what it is like to secure a bed for the night in our shelter system that crowds over 60 people in a room with a tiny locker to put in all your belongings. He must have a ticket or voucher by 4pm to claim a bed by 8pm. At 4pm, sometimes there is only one or two tickets left, if at all. If he was offered an odd job to shovel snow or do some handy work some place, he must weigh the risk of losing that ticket/bed or losing that extra bit of income.
He did say that among all shelter services available, that the Out of the Cold is the best as not only is a bed and a meal offered but that people are generous, kind and helpful and will talk to you.
In the last six months, Dan was working on a cramper. His cramper does seem to generate a lot of interest. People have offered many items: a board, some foam, a single burner, a place to park… A sense of community was created where what current structure offers have not worked, people offered something, much like the Stone Soup. This is community.
The unveiling last Thursday at our Bread and Bricks meeting also attracted some media. It was also Budget Day at City Council. A reporter remarked that my comment about raising taxes so we can build more housing and provide support for people who need them was something she never heard from anyone before. “Amazing. Tax me,” I said.
Yes, I was quoted as saying that the cramper is a solution. Perhaps, a solution from being evicted from underneath the Gardiner. Or from freezing.
No, not a solution
but a transmission of a vision