We shook hands behind a big box store. It was a brief hello with a man who would be our guide into the world of a make-shift community.
Ray Bond never lived in a tent when he was homeless, but other people who live on the streets befriended him and now he tries to return the favour by bringing food, water and at least on one occasion a crew from Global News.
Homelessness can seem like an extreme to most Canadians, but the more I talk with people who are or have experienced homelessness that’s not the case. Some have had good job but hit hard times.
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We were asked not to record right in the centre of the tent city. Not everyone was home and the two occupants who agreed to talk with us didn’t want to upset the others by showing their belongings.
We agreed, but did ask that we be given a tour off camera so we could accurately describe the area and have context for our reporting.
There were tents, piles of belongings, some trash and a few people coming and going.
It was surprising how organized it was. How people had their own little space, although we were told things are not always amicable between the residents.
They called the tents home and spoke of needing to protect their possessions not just from others in the camp, but by by-law officers and police coming to clear away their tent city.