Marsha Wiggens is one of 10 people who now call a sleeping cabin at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour home.
“I feel very lucky” said Wiggins. “Karma is on my side.”
Wiggins says this is her second winter unhoused and the first time she’s felt, safe, warm, clean and dry in two years.
“I couldn’t handle much more, it was just so cold, my fingers and my toes are very sensitive and it was one thing after another” she explained. “I kept getting heaters stolen, tent stolen and then people were staying in my hunt and it burnt downy, just a string of bad luck.
The 10 sleeping cabins are part of a pilot project by Our Livable Solutions with partnership from the City of Kingston.
Residents have access to facilities inside the harbour building.
The cost of the 10 x 12 cabins came in at 16-thousand dollars each.
A recent $100,000 donation from Kingston resident Judith Gould to United Way KFL&A will go towards adding to the number of sleep cabins already in place.
“It makes me feel so good when I think about what those people have endured and now they’re comfortable and safe” said Gould.
Gould said she was inspired to donate to the Kingston region United Way and pay for the sleeping cabins directly because of her newly renovated, historic home in the Sydenham Ward and seeing the unhoused community everyday in Kingston’s downtown.
“I said to myself, I live in the most beautiful home, I’m so lucky. I just can’t turn away anymore from these individuals” she said
The donation has been made to honour Gould’s husband, William Shine, who lives in assisted living with Alzheimer’s disease and never got to live in their Kingston home.
“Knowing my husband, he would really value making a donation like that and he’d be 100 percent for it” Gould explained.
As for Wiggens, she says living with a roof over her head with access to a shower, kitchen and laundry means she doesn’t have to spend everyday worrying about survival.
Wiggens hopes to find a permanent living situation soon with the support from those involved in the project and says she’s thankful to the community who is stepping up with kindness and support.