On Dundas Street, just east of Waterloo, sits a small corridor of green space known as Campbell Park. An unassuming piece of landscape, it sits largely unnoticed by those who happen to pass by. A group of dedicated professionals have chosen Campbell Park as the site for something special. The goal: a space where members of our community can honour those whose lives were lost to homelessness. The vision: a large uncut rock, mounted on a stone base, affixed with a plaque that reads: “A timeless public monument commemorating lives lost as a result of homelessness in London”
Countless homeless individuals with no next of kin are buried with no funeral service and no grave marker. There is no place for loved ones to linger, to pray, to remember and to mourn. The London Homeless Coalition (comprised of representatives of local shelters and support services), along with community partners, donors and supporters are working to change that.
“We cannot imagine how much ‘loss’ there is on the streets,” writes Gordon Russell, Director of Shelters at Mission Services of London. “A memorial will give us one place to put it, name it and hopefully find comfort in it as we remember our friends.”
Londoners have shown their support for this project in the form of donations, social media interactions and press. A dedicated group of students from King’s University College’s Social work program joined the campaign and successfully raised awareness and donations. “London is a City full of people who care for the less fortunate and I am overwhelmed by their generosity in donating to this project.” writes Dr. Abe Oudshoorn, Chair of London Homeless Coalition.
This Memorial will not only provide a gathering place for events and ceremonies focused on poverty and homelessness, it will also serve as a reminder that we are a caring community who supports all our members with respect, dignity and pride. “We need to draw more attention [to homelessness and poverty in London] and make it personal to folks who are out of touch with this population.” says Megan VanBoheemen, CMHP worker and member of the London Homeless Coalition.
The Coalition plans to break ground in the spring of 2013 with an official dedication ceremony on World Homelessness Action Day in October of that same year.
Abe Oudshoorn writes: “It’s important that we recognize the value of all people regardless of their circumstances, and I believe that paying our respects for those who die homeless is one small way of doing this.”
To contribute to the London Homeless Memorial or for more information, please contact:
Nancy Powers, Executive Director of Centre of Hope and member of London Homeless Coalition: 519 661 0343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org