‘Change Comes From Within’: Why a Community-Based Response is What’s Needed to Address Housing Crisis

By Deron Hamel

Deborah Hill says it’s easy for her to see the value of a community-based response to the housing need in Brantford — she has experienced the challenges that come with homelessness first hand.

Addressing the housing crisis will require community members wanting to orchestrate change, not waiting for others to step in, the Brantford resident and supporter of Community Living Brant says, so those working towards this goal are taking a step in the right direction.

“Change comes from within,” Deborah says.

Belonging Brant is facilitating a community-driven response to address the housing crisis in Brantford by creating tiny homes in the city.

The goal is to work with the City of Brantford to build one tiny home as a pilot project and eventually build more accessory dwellings to address the housing crisis and create a stronger community where everyone can have a home.

Community members working together to create a tiny-home community is more effective than people working separately, Deborah adds.

“I am prepared to use whatever skills I possibly could offer.”

“Many hands make light work,” she says. “If you would like to have (a tiny home), you should be able to put some elbow grease into it to achieve (that) for you and loved ones.”

The group of community members involved in the tiny homes project has been growing in recent weeks. The group includes people from the social services sectors as well as people working in property management, real-estate investment and building contracting.

There are lots of people in the community who have valuable gifts to bring to the table for a project like this, and Deborah has advice to take things to the next level.

“Hit the ground running, hard and fast,” she says. “We all have skills that could accomplish this overdue community challenge.”

And, Deborah adds, she’s willing to offer her help if needed.

“I am prepared to use whatever skills I possibly could offer,” she says. “My dad showed me a few ways to swing a hammer and run wires.”

Making the tiny-homes project successful will result from a concerted effort and focus on the goal, Deborah says.

“Start with gratitude and one mind to accomplish a zero-homeless community.”


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If you are person with direct experience with precarious housing and/or homelessness, a builder, a property owner, or work for financial institution, a foundation, or non-profit you have something to offer. We’d love it if you take a few minutes to share your answers to these questions.


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