Woman decides to help homeless man she befriended get his own tiny home after learning about his story
A formerly homeless man is slowly getting back to his feet, all thanks to the generosity of two strangers he met on a random day.
David McDonald, 46, of Kingston, Canada, has been in and out of homelessness since 2016 due to a series of unfortunate events in his life.
Last July, he was passing Kim Cormier’s house on his e-scooter when he busted a tire. He asked Kim—who was working outside on her laptop—if she would watch his belongings while he went to Canadian Tire to get a new inner tube. Several of his things had been stolen recently, and he didn’t want to lose any more.
After his Canadian Tire run, Kim invited David to stay for dinner with her and her partner, Andrew Embury. The trio hit it off.
“Every time we have a conversation, there’s laughter,” David said.
Having a nice dinner with good people was a breath of fresh air, especially for David, who has been through some tough times for the past several years.
He used to own a Pioneer gas station in Kingston, which earned him nearly six figures a year. But when gas prices rose and gas theft became more prevalent, fewer customers showed up. He was forced to close the business in 2010.
Soon after, he lost his house and car. Around the same time, his decade-long relationship also ended. It was just tragedy after tragedy.
“I literally lost my whole life after the gas station — the life that I knew then,” David said.
He relocated to Toronto with his teen daughter, and when she moved out, he took the bus to Vancouver, where he became homeless for the first time.
Afraid he would die in B.C., David packed up his things nine months later and walked and cycled over 3,000 kilometers back to Ontario, where he ended up living in a park in Toronto.
“I couldn’t imagine being homeless. I cried,” David said. “And so it was hard for me to accept help — charity, I felt.”
After staying with different relatives near Kingston, he returned to the city at the end of 2018. For the next year and a half, David shared a one-bedroom apartment with a stranger, but the other tenants there stole from him and even threatened him with violence.
Shortly after meeting Kim, he moved out of the apartment and began living in a tent. When it rained, he sought shelter in an abandoned trailer.
David, who suffers from social anxiety, supplements his monthly $1,124 Ontario Disability Support Program payments by collecting cans around the city.
“I don’t use the services provided for [the] homeless because I feel that, although I’m homeless, other people are worse off than me,” he said.
Luckily, he finds most of what he needs in the trash, including food, on some days.
“You have to swallow your pride when you’re homeless,” he said.
With their generous heart, Kim and Andrew have replaced David’s stolen belongings. Kim sometimes even gives him her own things. Once, when she noticed that David’s feet were blistering from his ill-fitting shoes, Kim took her Birkenstocks off and gave them to him.
Kim and Andrew have also given David new clothes and a backpack with a solar panel to charge his phone.
Earlier this month, the couple invited him to move into their backyard. David’s tent, donated by a sister he hadn’t seen in years, holds a queen-size mattress, a couch, and a fridge. When he needs to cook, he uses Kim’s outdoor fireplace. He also uses the couple’s washroom and laundry area.
“She’s done more than I can ever say thank you for,” David said.
And the man gives back to them in his own unique way.
“He has very good stories, and he’s just friendly and respectful,” Kim said. “It’s kind of nice to have someone come in and out, and someone to talk to, and a friend to rely on.”
Kim and Andrew didn’t stop there—they brainstormed ideas about giving David a more permanent home that can survive all seasons.
A mortgage agent, Kim got an idea from a local organization she works with called Our Livable Solutions. It’s still in the early stages, but the group plans to create a community of tiny homes to give the 400 homeless people in Ontario a roof over their heads.
Kim launched a GoFundMe to raise money for David’s new 80-square-foot living space. They reached their fundraising goal and purchased a fully insulated, fireproof, and weather-resistant micro-home for David!
The plan is to transfer the property over into David’s name. But in the meantime, he would still need to use the couple’s house for plumbing.
Although the house can be transported, David will always be welcome at Kim and Andrew’s home. While they started off as strangers, the couple considers David a part of their family now.
Hopefully, this new start helps David get back to the life he used to know.
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