A Kingston man who has been struggling to find housing is getting a helping hand after a chance encounter.
When David McDonald’s scooter got a flat tire in front of Kim Cormier’s home, she befriended him. Now, she is raising money to buy him a tiny home of his own.
“It’s going to be placed right here on my property, right beside my shed,” Cormier said.
McDonald has been in Kingston on and off since he was 19 — the majority of that time, he says he’s been homeless.
“It’s hard to sleep when you’re homeless, because the city keeps chasing you around,” he said.
His stroke of bad luck with a flat tire in front of Cormier’s house led her to eventually invite him to camp on her back deck, where he’s been living ever since.
“David uses our plumbing, he cooks with me in the kitchen. He showers in our facility in our one-bedroom home, so I’m just trying to help a man get off the street,” Cormier said.
Still, the pair of friends are hoping to find a more weather-resistant housing solution over the winter. They’re working to raise $18,000 to be able to afford McDonald’s new home. So far, they’ve raised a little over $1,800.
Bob Roach, the field tech for EnerDynamic Hybrid Technologies (EHT Hybrid,) a Niagara Falls-based company that will be building McDonald’s tiny home, said that the housing crisis in Kingston is what made him reach out to housing advocates in the area to help out.
“There’s about 400 people on the streets here in Kingston and they have an immediate need for 80 homes, and if we can get on it with the city, we can get at it right away,” Roach said.
Will Towell is another unhoused person, and he says that accessible housing is even harder to get.
“I’m 63, in lousy health, and in a wheelchair. It sucks when you got nowhere to go other than a tent,” said Towell. He says that a tiny home would be a great solution for his needs too.
EnerDynamic Hybrid Technologies will also be building homes for the Our Livable Solutions initiative, which is hoping to build a community of tiny homes in Kingston based on a similar initiative in Kitchener called A Better Tent City.
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Still, right now, McDonald feels grateful for Cormier’s help, and all those who have already donated to the GoFundMe campaign.
He says the tiny home solution seems like a viable option to help people like him, who have been given up on by many others.
“People like to turn a blind eye to the homeless situation. They just assume that it’s me. ‘What’d you do? You know you did something,'” he said.
As for Cormier, as a mortgage broker, she said the instinct to find McDonald a home came naturally to her.
“This is just an extension to that,” she said.