The social activist, Abbie Hoffman, once famously said "The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it." By all indications we did a lot more than 'get away with' the public action that Green Wood Coalition and its partners (HKPR Health Unit, Habitat for Humanity) took in downtown Port Hope from October 22 to 25. Our sights were aimed at raising awareness and encouraging community engagement with housing issues as winter approaches.
Our collective action resulted in the following:
1. Over 30 people sleeping outdoors in solidarity with the homeless in our community (our numbers included several who actually were sleeping rough in the community due to lack of address).
2. Meaningful conversations between political candidates and individuals who were, or had been, homeless.
3. Great community experiences around food, art and conversation.
4. Honest wrestling with our social issues by a panel of social workers, health care practitioners, police officers and faith leaders.
5. Honest, thorough coverage of the event and the issues by local media (CHEX TV).
6. Beautiful musical and poetic performances at an outdoor 'coffee house'.
7. A surprising (even to us) demonstration of the strength of community in overcoming differences between people, regardless of their background or address.
8. A concluding parade and drum circle on the steps of the Town Hall, next door to our encampment.
9. The beginning steps to create warming centres (daytime and nighttime) and emergency survival kits for individuals who end up sleeping outdoors in winter.
10. One individual that had been sleeping rough for 3 months being offered a room to rent and moving indoors following the demonstration.
Thanks to everyone who contributed food, dollars, equipment, talent or support to make 'Homeless Happens Here a reality'.
‘Homeless Happens Here’, a three-day event set for October 23, 24, 25 in Port Hope’s Memorial Park, is aimed at raising awareness and encouraging community engagement with housing issues as winter approaches. Outdoor, on-site activities will provide opportunity for understanding real-life experiences of homelessness in Northumberland. All events are free, but donations are welcomed, through this website or in person at Homeless Happens Here.
All are welcome at this family-friendly outdoor event, over the three days. The following activities may help with planning your visit:
10:00 am - 'Feels Like Home' Needle Felting Community Art Project
2:00 pm - Municipal Candidates Q & A (Cobourg and Port Hope)
7:00 pm - Interactive Community Building Activity
10:00 am - Yoga For Campers
2:00 pm - Homelessness Panel Discussion For Local Media
7:00 pm - Coffee House/Live Music Hosted By Ted Staunton
10:00 am - 'Survive Living Rough' Interactive Activity
2:00 pm - Drum Circle & Event Closing
Green Wood Coalition appreciates the partnership of Habitat For Humanity, HKPR Health Unit and Northumberland Affordable Housing Committee. Special thanks to Municipality of Port Hope staff, Absolute Tents, and the many volunteers that make this event possible.
(NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY) – ‘Homeless Happens Here’, a three-day event set for October 23, 24, 25 in Port Hope’s Memorial Park, is aimed at raising awareness and encouraging community engagement with housing issues as winter approaches. Outdoor, on-site activities will provide opportunity for understanding real-life experiences of homelessness in Northumberland.
Currently, there are very critical needs for people living rough (outdoors) in the county, and the Northumberland Affordable Housing Committee is conducting a survey to help provide information to address these needs before winter hits.
“At least 2500 families are in need of housing or are at risk of homelessness in Northumberland county, and that is likely a low figure,” says David Sheffield of Green Wood Coalition. Homelessness is often hidden, and in Northumberland, too many are unaware of the reality that it happens here.
The Northumberland County Affordable Housing Committee refers to the Homeless Hub of Canada’s definition of homelessness that includes: living rough/no shelter, living in emergency shelter, living in temporary housing or being at risk of becoming homeless. Anyone who does not have a physical address in their name should be considered homeless.
Green Wood Coalition, working together with several other community agencies including Habitat for Humanity and the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, hopes to build awareness about homelessness in Northumberland. More and more, individuals and families are at risk as employment earnings and rent/housing costs stretch farther apart. Rising housing costs mean that more families are struggling to meet other basic needs like food and clothing. Social assistance rates and minimum wage rates do not provide enough money to meet the basic needs of rent and food.
Besides the opportunity to fill in surveys and have conversations about housing needs in Northumberland, Homeless Happens Here will also include art, music-making and meals. It is the hope of all involved that the community will visit the family-friendly tent display and take the opportunity to learn more about housing and homelessness.
WHAT: Homeless Happens Here
WHEN: Thursday, October 23rd to Saturday October 25th
WHERE: Memorial Park, Queen Street, Port Hope
(NOTE TO MEDIA: Members of the media are invited
to attend for photo and interview opportunities)
Have you seen our Fairy Door? A Fairy Door installation has been on display at our office space on John St. in Port Hope, ON, over the summer months as part of Horizons of Friendship's Fairy Door Project. This beautiful piece was created by Cobourg artist, Katie Flindall of Moon House Art. We caught up with Katie at a very busy (and noisy) outdoor art show where she talked to us about childhood, fairies, inspiration and community dinners. Thanks so much, Katie, for your thoughtful, creative work.
Organizers have lofty goals for this year’s edition of "Till Things Are Brighter: The Songs of Johnny Cash", in aid of the work of the Green Wood Coalition. They hope to sell out every ticket, for the first time.
The show will return to the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope on Saturday, November 1 for the fourth consecutive year. With the popular Cash tribute becoming a local autumn tradition, the goal is now a sold-out show. Says Artistic Director David Newland, “With the quality of acts from across Canada we’re presenting each year, this show has become a must-hear event.”
"Till Things Are Brighter" features an award-winning lineup of roots and indie musicians. Each act will perform their own versions of noted Johnny Cash songs in a revue-style show.
“We chose to honour Johnny Cash’s work because he always stood up for those who dealt with hard times and challenge,” says David Sheffield, outreach worker with Green Wood Coalition.
Proceeds of “Till Things Are Brighter: The Songs of Johnny Cash” support the work of Green Wood Coalition, helping citizens in Northumberland County who are dealing with homelessness, addiction, abuse, underemployment, disability and other social challenges.
According to Newland, “Johnny Cash sang to every segment of society, rich and poor, saint and sinner. Johnny’s music honours our common humanity. That’s what inspires us.”
Till Things Are Brighter: The Songs of Johnny Cash 2014 lineup includes:
Russell deCarle (Multiple Juno Award winner, lead singer Prairie Oyster)
Gathering Sparks (Nominees for 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award)
Christa Couture (‘Best of 2012’ from CBC Music)
Hilary Grist (Western Canada Music Award nominee)
Graydon James & Laura Spink (Galaxie Rising Star Award winners)
Ariana Gillis (2009 CFMA, Young Performer of the Year)
Andrew Queen (2010 CFMA Children's Album Winner)
Brooke Sturzenegger (2013 SVFF Songwriter’s Showcase winner)
Kristine Schmitt (Old-time country swing chanteuse)
House band: David Celia/David Gillis/Ben Rollo
Tickets are $25, available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office.
For more information, please visit:
From Northumberland News, October 2, 2014:
Finding a place for Northumberland’s homeless
A warming room could be the answer
It is easy to ignore the homeless in Northumberland.
They are not always visible on our streets. However, with a half a dozen people finding themselves on the street this summer, it is likely everyone has seen or knows someone who is homeless.
What people may not know, is the story behind why they are without a place to sleep. Cobourg’s local shelter for men, women and families, Transition House, along with women’s shelters in Cobourg and Alderville, have done the best job they can in helping people find a safe place to live. The problem comes when people do not fit into the shelter system.
There are several reasons why people find themselves living outside.
Read more here: