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GoFundMe campaign seeks to provide ‘David’ with a better home

Homeless man spent the past winter camped in Sainte-Dorothée woods

With spring finally here, a Laval resident with a big heart is trying to improve the living conditions of a homeless man who – incredibly enough – braved the cold and snow while living outdoors in the Sainte-Dorothée woods over the past winter.

It is coming up on one year that David has been living in his tent in the woods, says Oscar Parry who has been helping him out. However, while spring offers a welcome change of pace, it still leaves many hazards when you live in a tent on the ground.

Challenging weather

Mud, mini rivers and constant wetness are a few of the unfortunate consequences of the rapidly melting snow. Oscar started a GoFundMe crowdfunding page on the internet for David, homeless and in his early fifties, who is living in a secluded spot on the edge of the Sainte-Dorothée woods around the former Mont Laval trailer park.

“This is David,” Oscar writes on his page. “He’s a friend of mine that toughs it out in the woods in Laval, Quebec. I met David in the summer of 2020 while I was on a walk in the woods and he was at ‘home.’ We had a good chat and I came by to visit and bring some ‘extras’ over the course of the summer and fall. And in the bitter cold of winter.”

Toughing it out

Having toughed it out in a makeshift tent not suitable for Quebec’s brutal winters, David has made the best of his situation, says Oscar. While he enjoys being on his own, he realizes the limitations and the hardship of his situation, although he always greets Oscar with a smile.

According to Oscar, David would like to get back to work, but unfortunately, where he lives now makes it impossible to power up his cell phone to be able look for work, let alone get cleaned up or go to interviews. And, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t helped, either.

Having toughed it out in a makeshift tent not suitable for Quebec’s brutal winters, David has made the best of his situation

To keep warm over the past winter, David made his own stove out of concrete blocks he found. And while spring is finally here, for David unfortunately that just means melting snow drenching his tent and the few belongings he has.

Turning his life around

While his face, hands and clothes are often black from the smoke of the fires he makes to stay warm, Oscar says David is still smiling, although access to things we take for granted – like a shower, decent shelter and something as simple as hot coffee – would all contribute to a massive turning point in his life.

Oscar and other supporters believe a starting point to lifting David out of his situation would be to purchase a van to effectively serve as his home. In in the interim, they have found a safe legal place for him to park and live.

A badly-needed break

Although David is working with a social worker to find housing, they are having no luck, Oscar adds. However, he believes that a van would be more useful at the moment.

“It’s a desired step-up in living accommodations,” he said. “It is a vehicle that can be driven to job interviews and to facilities to get cleaned up. It can also be driven to any skills upgrading courses David chooses to pursue.”

Donations for David are currently being sought through the GoFundMe page (https://gofund.me/79827d66).

According to Oscar, here’s how donations will be used: van purchase, registration, insurance, a few added touches to upgrade living condition, repairs, miscellaneous. While all donations are being accepted, Oscar says they are hoping to receive $25 contributions on average.

Martin C. Barry
Martin C. Barryhttp://www.lavalnews.ca
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for the Laval News. During his 24 years covering political and community issues in the Montreal region, Marty has won numerous journalism awards from the Quebec Community Newspapers Association for written coverage as well as for photography. marty@newsfirst.ca

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