Building Tiny Homes - Building Community

October 23, 2020

On October 18th Fr. Toby Collins and Fr. Joseph de Viveiros provided a presentation on this past summers' project of the journey of building tiny homes at St. Mary's Parish in Kitchener.  Social distancing protocols were in place at this meeting and the videos provided an inspiring story of hope and a promise for a better future.  Below are pictures and a write up of this presentation provided by Terry Wallace - Lay Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny ​To view these videos check out our postings of September 1st, 2nd and 3rd!

Fr. Toby emphasizing the importance of this project.

Fr.  Joseph providing some thoughts on this project.

Building Tiny Homes – Building Community

October 18, 2020 at St. Joseph Parish, Hamilton

Last winter, when homelessness came knocking at the door of St. Mary’s Parish in downtown Kitchener, Father Toby Collins, Pastor, organized an immediate response to the pressing need by sheltering and caring for over 100 homeless people in the basement of St. Mary’s Church. 

Thus began a journey of hope that would offer dignity and promise to those without a home, and often struggling with mental illnesses and addictions.  Searching for creative solutions to the homelessness crisis in the city, the tiny homes concept was developed into a viable project plan that realized the successful completion of ten tiny homes.

Despite the withdrawal of federal funds to support the plan, the project moved forward on a wing and a prayer.  A private benefactor offered land on which to complete and situate the tiny homes and provided a trailer for personal hygiene and a central dining abode.  Thanks to the generosity of a local-area businesswoman, everyone was well-fed throughout the project!  Members of the local Mennonite community applied their skills to frame the homes while enthusiastic students worked alongside clients to complete and paint the homes.  On-site supervisors ensured that both pandemic safety measures and workplace safety measures were followed.  All the while, Fr. Toby offered a supportive and encouraging presence to the entire project team.

This collaboration of students, homeless clients and church, focussed on the social objective of helping to improve the lives of others, created unique opportunities to foster understanding, break down barriers, change attitudes and forge new friendships.

While the successful build of ten tiny homes represents the tangible deliverable of the project providing clients with more dignified housing, the more profound project outcome may be found in the sense of community built with the sweat equity of working together for love of neighbour.

By:  Terry Wallace

Lay Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny