It started with a single grey T-shirt and a brokenhearted big sister.
“This isn’t something that is chosen. This is something that can happen to anybody and I watched that,” said Miriah Kearney, who lives in Truro, N.S.
Three years ago, Kearney, a Nova Scotia entrepreneur, lost her brother Lucas when he was only 29 years old
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Although Lucas never lived on the streets, Kearney says he did suffer from drug addictions and mental illness.
She says its a condition shared by far too many homeless Canadians.
“I think the homeless are so often forgotten or misunderstood and I also think it is a fixable problem,” Kearney said.
That’s why she’s launched a clothing line called “My Home Apparel” in honour of her brother. Five per cent of profits generated by the clothing line, which feature maps of each of Canada’s provinces and territories, are donated to the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and various local shelters across the country.
“I don’t think any Canadians should be sleeping outside at night and I think we can make this better,” Kearney said.
Sue MacDonnell, who works in community outreach at a homeless shelter in Moncton, N.B., welcomes the campaign.
“We identify as a community by our provinces, but then by extension, there is a community that needs to be supported as they struggle,” MacDonnell said.
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And while Kearney still struggles with the loss of her baby brother, opening up a conversation about homelessness is bringing her a sense of purpose and peace.
“Every day is a battle to get through the grief, but I think he would be very proud that I changed the conversation to something positive and to help those that need help.”