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BKDI's Margo Coppus Takes a Walk in the Shoes of Calgary's Less Fortunate

Last updated 7 years ago

In a perfect world, each and every person would have a warm and safe roof over their head, but unfortunately, this is not the case. According to the Calgary Homeless Foundation, they have estimated that 15,000 – 17,000 individuals stayed in shelters in the year 2010 alone. This is the equivalent of having the town of Cochrane living on our city streets! Last Wednesday, Margo Coppus, Associate with BKDI Architects, made a visit to Homeless Awareness Calgary (HAC) to participate in one of their “Night Tours of the Street,” a two hour long walking tour of downtown Calgary led by a guide who is currently, or has previously experienced homelessness. The guides take participants around different areas of downtown while sharing their personal experience of life on the streets and the challenges they face today. This is what Margo had to share about her tour last Wednesday night:

“After a brief introduction we were split up in three groups of 7 – 8 people. Our tour guide was a man (mid-forties – my guess) and had lived on the street for about eight years. During the walk he told us how deadly Calgary’s downtown streets & parks are. He told us how people from all over Canada come to Calgary with a dream of getting a good job. They arrive with basically nothing and if they are lucky, may find a job with a temp agency for minimum wages, but have to spend the nights in a shelter until they have enough money for rent. Try to imagine coming from a job, having to line up for food, shower and sleeping on the floor between total strangers, who are often addicts and will take any of your possessions if you are not watching. You can see how these people get frustrated when they see the city spending thirty million dollars on a pedestrian bridge while there are approximately 4,500 homeless. (He made the remark that there will be room for six homeless at either end under the bridge, who can then say that they have a thirty million dollar roof over their head). Most homeless people are scared, don’t trust anyone and feel invisible. One of the easiest things you can do is to look them in the eye and just say “hello” and treat them with kindness and respect.”

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