With occupiers still taking over streets in downtown Ottawa, it’s made it tough for street-involved individuals to access the services they need to survive.
Speaking with The Sam Laprade Show on Monday, February 14, Shauna Thibodeau of Shauna’s Outreach, said that while some are choosing to take part in the protest’s events, others are in hiding and unable to reach out to the organizations and different facilities they need daily.
“When you live outside you get used to the things you access to survive,” Thibodeau explained. “So when those places and those corners and those spots that help you every day, year after year, are taken away and you scramble to find something else — you don’t have a phone, you don’t have Google, you don’t have your community of friends to sit at a coffee shop to decide what you’re going to do next.”
Shauna’s Outreach is a volunteer initiative that helps street-involved people and sex trade workers in the community.
The goal of the initiative is “to get somebody in need through one more day.”
“Tomorrow may be the day your family finds you, tomorrow might be the day you’re accepted for housing, tomorrow might be the day that you’re accepted at rehab — it’s just one more day. And in that one more day sought is hope.”
But as Thibodeau said, street-involved people rely heavily on one another and foot traffic for help, and the last two years have been a bit adjustment for them during COVID.
Thibodeau first moved to Ottawa during uncertain circumstances in 2008. She was a single mom who, she said, needed to do things to survive with her child.
And by using the community’s resources available to her, she was able to meet people who volunteer their time and resources to help others in the community.
This inspired her to do the same.
Now, every week, you can find Thibodeau walking the streets giving street-involved individuals the things they need — from socks, food and even little treats to make them feel special.