This is a guest post by Sara Peddle, Executive Director of the David Busby Centre.
Every day people impact their community in many different ways without even realizing that they have done so.
I - Inspirational
M - Movement
P - Positive
A - Action
C - Community
T – Together
The motel conversion project at the former Barr’s Motel has been a collaborative labour of community love for the last couple years. As we drew close to opening the doors to provide safe and affordable housing for individuals experiencing long term homelessness, we needed a name for our project worthy of it’s vast importance in our community.
We engaged people who have had experience in homelessness to weigh in with their thoughts for naming this building. It did not take long before a theme emerged.
Heartbreakingly, we have lost way too many people experiencing homelessness over the years, but one person had made particular impact on the community as a whole.
Ms. Lucy Pino had spent many blistering cold and intensely hot nights on the streets of downtown Barrie. Her "spot" was a particular ventilation grate on Collier Street. During her days and evening there, Lucy connected with many people as they walked by. Many members of the public, business sector, faith communities, and community organizations would go visit her specifically to engage in conversation with this intriguing woman and to make sure she was ok. Lucy often made beaded bracelets as gifts for her visitors.
Lucy was not interested in coming into housing, she was “just fine.” After many months of being at her spot, Lucy was evicted and a metal fence was put up as a barrier to ensure that she did not return. The community was outraged that Lucy was forced to move, but Lucy relocated to Heritage Park with the few personal belongings she owned. This was not her spot but she was making the best of the situation. Sadly, in the fall of 2014 and within a couple weeks of her “move,” Lucy passed way in the public washroom at Heritage Park.
News of Lucy’s passing shocked the community and white ribbons and chalk memorials lined the alleyways leading from Dunlop St. to Lucy’s “spot” on Collier St.