Timmins man shares his story about living with addictions and homeless
As people enjoy the Thanksgiving long weekend, officials with Living Space Homeless Shelter in Timmins hope they'll take a moment to reflect on how they can improve lives for those who are homeless.
“By educating ourselves and understanding where we are, we can put that pressure for things that we want change for," said Kelsey MacDonnell, volunteer coordinator with Living Space.
"If we need more mental health resources, understanding that I’m not someone who suffers with mental health issues, maybe I can help get resources for those who do."
"If we just all come together as a community instead of complaining about one another and, you know, start being more positive and just get this rehab centre going and stuff going for people to be successful in life," added Jason Howson, who's experienced homelessness.
Howson was guest speaker at an event by Living Space in recognition of World Homeless Day, which is Sunday.
When Howson was 16, his father passed away. As a result, he battled addictions and homelessness for 18 years until he found a local program that involved living and working on a farm.
“I just know there’s a lot of people out there struggling and I’ve been there and it’s tough," he said.
"I’ve got my own home now and everything else and so I’m just praying for you guys … There (are) people out there who want to help, but it starts with yourself. You gotta help yourself and you gotta get up every day wanting to do better."
His story resonated with some students from O'Gorman Catholic High School.
“Drugs and alcohol, it drastically impacts your life a lot more than you’d think it would and it’s like a rapid downward spiral that you wouldn’t see on the surface," said Milo Augello.
“I think any chance I get to come here and do these sorts of activities I would because I feel like this could really change people’s lives," added Hunter Dunn.
Living Space officials said they're hoping by recruiting volunteers to work at the shelter, it will help break down barriers and stigma in the community. They said people can then get to know what the problems really are and can advocate for change.