Yesterday was a big day at work. In fact, it will likely go down as one of the most important in our organization’s history. After several years of collaborative, thoughtful, hard, all-encompassing work, our Community Task Force to End Homelessness and the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council announced a plan to end homelessness in Winnipeg. I will let The Plan do the talking, I don’t need to explain it to you, but I knew I wanted to blog about this day and I didn’t really know what to say. When I got to work yesterday morning though, I picked up one of the summary pieces hot off the printer and read this story:


I knew it perfectly summed up how I felt about this issue. Our belief in the ability to actually end homelessness, the way we all react when this topic comes up in conversation, our opinions on what led someone to this life – it is perfectly captured in how we react to someone who is a little worse for wear calling out to us on the street. Do you stop and say hello? Do you reach into your pocket to see what change you have? Do you offer a smile? Do you walk past blindly? Do you shrink away and cross the street?

I hope you make some kind of connection with them. I hope you look into their eyes and recognize them. There is a lot of hurt and despair in our world, it comes in many forms and each of us are affected differently by that. We may feel a stronger pull to certain issues because of past experience or personal connection. I understand that and I believe it takes all of us with our different convictions and the organizations that represent them to make up our world. But I hope homelessness becomes an issue that you take the time to learn more about and help make a difference in your own way. Everyone deserves a place to call home and so many people in our country still don’t have that basic right.

So tomorrow when you go on your lunch break and head out of the office to walk around the neighbourhood, don’t just grab your purse and umbrella. Bring your respect, your compassion, your smile, and offer it to someone. Look them square in the eye and show them that you see them. That they matter. That you are equal.

“I know that when I look into the eyes of another woman or man, or into the face of a child; when I hug a stranger as I wander the streets looking for someone who will take my two bags of recycling each week, I know I am giving more than money. I am giving dignity and hope the way someone once gave it to me.” – Dr. Lucy Miller, President & CEO of United Way of Calgary and Area


  • Amber

    I have definitely become much better about this since I started working at United Way. It can be overwhelming sometimes because we can’t help everybody, but simply making eye contact and smiling can change a persons day. Great post!