An informal network of folks who want to support unhoused neighbours living in Stadacona Park
›› Stacie Swain, Andrew Kerr, James Davis, and Alieda Blandford
Andrew first met Ron on January 13th, 2021. Earlier that morning, Ron came within a few feet of dying as a tree crashed through his home during a windstorm. Ron continues to live in the park, play Frisbee, and curate the community collage, which has something for everyone under a sign that reads “thank you.”
After conversations with some of those living in the park, in late February we started a Facebook group called the Stadacona Neighbour Support Network (SNSN) with the aim of improving the living conditions of our unhoused neighbours.
In the short time since, group members have been busy helping in different ways: setting up a warming tent when it snowed, providing laundry service, charging cell phones, coordinating a Legal Observer training workshop, mediating interactions with bylaw officers, printing resumes, and delivering lunch through a grant to support local businesses.
Ron calls us “community envoys’’ now. According to him, the most important part is how merely sitting and talking to people living in the park can positively impact their mental health. In a city where unhoused residents are often dehumanized and demonized, simply showing kindness can go a long way.
The SNSN’s values are simple—respect our neighbours’ need for shelter and remember that we arrive in the park with different life experiences. We believe that all people deserve compassion and that strong communities are built on strong relationships. Through conversation and mutual aid, we are finding common ground in the park that we share. The challenges facing our city can seem insurmountable at times, but caring for our neighbours can make a tangible difference.
To get involved, stop by the park and say “hi” when people are outdoors, request to join SNSN on Facebook, or email StadaconaNeighbour@gmail.com for more info. We will be hosting a Zoom Info Session on April 8 from 7-8pm.