We believe that housing is a human right. When the urgent need arose to help move 42 Tiny Homes in the Waterloo-Kitchener region and help make 50 “hard to house” homeless individuals live better, we stepped in.
This is a story of the evolution of homelessness, a human crisis heightened by the pandemic, an opportunity to be bold and build community.
(L) Jeff Wilmer, ABTC Board. (R)David Butler, Alair Waterloo.
Monday, September 26, 2022
Team Alair visited A Better Tent City celebrating the recent completion of a long-awaited commercial kitchen, following the site’s incredibly unique transformation, by sponsoring a lunch for 50 residents catered by local fav., “The Big Jerk”. This kitchen was the final touch to Alair’s support of assisting with the building of amenities (flushing toilets, showers, and laundry facilities) to help the residents live better.
In October 2021, David Butler, Partner of Alair Kitchener/Waterloo and Aurora/Newmarket, responded to an urgent need to help the homeless in his community. Fifty residents living in 42 Tiny Homes were being relocated from an open parking lot of a major event centre that had been sold. The owner of the lot, Ron Doyle, was a well-known local philanthropist and visionary of “A Better Tent City ” who had passed away. The concept was just that; a step up from a tent, a hard roof over the heads of the chronic homeless -primarily individuals with mental health and addiction issues.
With major support from The City of Kitchener, “A Better Tent City” was granted access to a new location, an empty grass field loaned by the local school board. Once the Tiny Homes were moved by a group of volunteers throughout a cold day in the winter,David Butler stepped in. With major support from 25+ trade and product suppliers, they worked together under the emergency housing act transforming steel sea cans into laundry, washroom (flushing toilets and running taps), and shower facilities as well as constructing donated classroom portables into a commercial kitchen and communal eating and lounge area – all of which were craned into place. Prior to the individual amenities and shared communal area, residents were using outhouses and eating under a vinyl tent outdoors. There was also the major challenge of ensuring power and hydro was accessible. David donated 150+ project management hours and Alair Ontario contributed an additional $6K cash gift to the cause, but nothing could compare to what Team Alair received in return. The level of impact was nothing anyone could quite have expected. The experience was ‘eye opening’, humbling, and something we will never quite forget or look past in the future. We are proud to have provided not an entire solution for these deserving individuals, but something better.
David has become an essential part of building this ‘city’ capturing positive local and national media attention as well as interest from cities like Hamilton and Kingston, Ontario wanting to pilot the design in their communities.
Alair would like to thank the following individuals:
Jeff Wilmer, Laura Hamilton, Nadine Brown, and Father Toby for continued inspiration of their selflessness and admirable volunteerism.
Alair as well would like to thank the following companies who sponsored product/services to the project:
Sewer and Water, John Abel, Navacon Construction Inc.
Sewer and Water, Peter Drexler, Navacon Construction Inc.
Electrical, Clayton Schneider, Conestoga Electric Inc.
Decks and Framing, Matt Kwasnicki Carpenter Union Local 785
Decks and Framing, William Harth Carpenter Union Local 785
Decks and Framing, Claude Bernard Carpenter Union Local 785
Flooring, Brain Edissi, Twin City Tile Co Ltd.
HVAC, Brad Bauman, Bau Mechanical Inc.
Paint, Kevin Donaldson
Mechanical Engineering, Costas Pashartis, Copa Engineering Inc
Electrical Eng., Michael Jepson, Mighton Engineering
Portables, Bert Oliver, Converta Boat
Bathroom Container, Mitch Fortier, Alloy Casting Industries Ltd
Engineering, Paul Slater, MTE Eng
Engineering, Lynn Ingram, MTE Eng
City official, Robert Shipper, City of Kitchener
City official, Mike Seiling, City of Kitchener
City Official, David Paetz, City of Kitchener
Public Relations, Jacqueline Tyler, Alair Ontario
Promotion, Justin Thompson, Alair Ontario
Volunteer, Laura Hamilton
Volunteer, Fr Toby, St Mary Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows
Volunteer, Jeff Wilmur
Volunteer, Nadine Brown
Volunteer, Pat Murphy
Volunteer, Paul Rappolt
Food, Kevin Thomas, The Big Jerk Inc.
Video, Jon Mayer, Early Bird Films
Video, Noah Campbell, Early Bird Films
Craning the school portable on to helical piles.
David Butler Bringing Blankets To The Residents.
Father Toby is Helping Dig Trenches for the Hydro Lines.
Sea Can Converted Into Washroom, Shower, and Laundry Facility.
Shipping Container To Be Converted Into Shower, Toilet, and Laundry Facility.