St. Thomas, ON - You can help eradicate poverty.
16% of residents in Elgin-St. Thomas are considered to be living in low income,
struggling to afford food and housing. In our community, poverty and homelessness
looks different than it does in bigger centres - some individuals who lose their
homes even turn to their cars or trucks for shelter, opting to pay for their car
over their rent because that is how they get to work. Spending the night in your
car can make for one of the longest nights of your life. It's uncomfortable. It's
difficult and it's cold, but it's a reality for many of our neighbours.
"You might not always see it, but homelessness does exist in St. Thomas and Elgin
County. It happens to women, men, and youth of all backgrounds. People in our community
become homeless because of poor physical or mental health, violence or abuse in
the home, lack of employment or income, shortage of affordable housing and a lack
of family support. Because of this, the YWCA and other organizations offer supportive
housing to women, men and youth." – Lindsay Rice, Co-chair, Elgin-St. Thomas Coalition
to End Poverty and Director of Community Programming, YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin
In Elgin St. Thomas, 20% of home owners and 42% of renters were spending more than
30% of their household income on shelter costs. "The fact that we still have situations
like this in our community should make us all sleepless. If we can spend a little
more time being aware of these issues happening right here in our community Elgin
St. Thomas will be a better community." Shares Joe Preston, Board President of United
Way Elgin-St. Thomas
United Way Elgin-St. Thomas wants to draw attention to this important issue with
the help of Joe Preston and Tim Smart who are going to be bundling up and sleeping
in the backseats of their cars in the parking lot of Boston Pizza on February 8th.
Joe and Tim are raising pledges and donations to help support vital programs for
people at risk of homelessness. Tim, who is the regional sales manager for Easy
101 FM and Country 107.3, remarked that he is always looking for ways to give back
to the community. As uncomfortable as he expects it be, it's so much better than
what many people who are homeless endure every night, he said. "If I have to tough
it out in a Honda Civic one night, I'm doing pretty good all things considered."
You can help by going on to the Elgin-St. Thomas United Way's Community Facebook
Event Page and make a pledge to support Joe and Tim, or call United Way Elgin St.
Thomas or come out to the Boston Pizza parking lot where a collection will be taking
place. You can follow Joe and Tim and share on social media, to encourage even more
people to come out, or to send them messages or questions throughout the night.
Together, we can move people from poverty to possibility.
Date: February 8, 2017 to February 9, 2017
Location: Boston Pizza Parking Lot (860 Talbot Street, St. Thomas)