While working one day from home on her front porch, Kim Cormier, a mortgage agent in Kingston, saw David McDonald struggling with the tire of his scooter in front of her house. As Cormier describes, it was a hot, humid day, and she offered to help the man and asked if he’d needed any water. McDonald then went to get a new insert for his scooter’s tire from the Canadian Tire nearby, while Cormier made sure his things were safe. After returning from the store, McDonald and Cormier chatted, and she heard about his troubles, particularly homelessness.
“We then chatted while he fixed his bike, and he told me about his troubles as a man without a home, City Bylaw [enforcement] not allowing him to camp, and how most homeless individuals have a very bad reputation in this country and city,” said Cormier.
After a couple of months, McDonald came back to Cormier’s doorstep after losing a rented room. The landlord had taken the first month’s rent, but had kicked him out and destroyed his items, including a scooter, buggies, and all his belongings, Cormier relayed. She then offered to let him stay in her backyard for the night, and then he started to stay there periodically afterward. After a few weeks, her friends also chipped in with donations like clothing, a tent, an air mattress, hygiene products, and food for David.
“Spending time at home and with David, my partner, Andrew, and I decided that we should start looking for a more permanent solution for the winter. As we live in a one-bedroom home and would offer a bedroom if we had it, we needed something else. He was already using our facilities, showering in our home, cooking with me, and doing his laundry. We thought a micro home would be the best option for him to get through the winter,” said Cormier.
After research on social media, Cormier found Our Livable Solutions (OLS), a group of people that provide solutions aiming to end homelessness. “I reached out to them with an inquiry about their micro homes, and Crystal Wilson followed up with me. We met up, and she put me in contact with EnerDynamic Building Systems out of Niagara falls,” said Cormier.
OLS and EHT (EnerDynamic Hybrid Technologies) Corp are making 80 micro homes for people without homes in the Kingston area, and proposing the City of Kingston have a community of these homes with access to water, sewer, and electricity for groups of homeless people to regain dignity, have safety, and reintegrate into society and possibly the workforce.
The micro-homes are moveable (weighing 1,200 lbs), fully fire retardant, and have full electric hookups using the same plug as Christmas lights on the outside of your home. In addition, these homes are fully insulated using only body heat and as large as a 8×10 foot shed, so they don’t require a permit from the City and are Bylaw approved. Another unique feature is that these micro homes are hurricane-proof sturdy structures, and there is also a solar panel option for off-grid living.
Cormier and her partner, Andrew Embury, have raised $8,815 to date on their GoFundMe page dedicated to securing McDonald a micro home of his own.
“Today, I sent the deposit for David’s micro home of $5,000 to start manufacturing, and hopefully I will have it delivered and built by the first week of October,” Cormier explained.
Cormier and McDonald have decided that whatever the fundraising would not cover will be set aside for McDonald to pay off monthly until the debt is paid in full. The rest of the balance will be paid for on Cormier’s line of credit with low interest. Once the micro house is paid off, it will fully belong to David, and he is free to move it wherever he wants to live, or rent land from someone in a more private area in the city.
“Who knows! Maybe someone else wants a kind, charming man and his micro home in their backyard,” Cormier said warmly.