What’s next for the homeless haven in Kitchener ?

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File photo from 2013: students sleep on the street to raise awareness about homelessness. Photo by Antonio Brevia

Udanapher (Nadine) Green was evicted from her convenience store in Kitchener at 10 Water Street North on Jan. 21. The same convenience store that was home to many homeless people at night since 2014. 

Green found a way to give back to the universe by choosing a life filled with compassion and empathy for the homeless in Kitchener.

However, she claims the BIA Downtown Kitchener was part of the landlord union that sought to evict her, which they do not acknowledge.

Imprint made multiple attempts to contact the BIA but the organisation never returned requests for a comment.

In court, the landord who owns the building Green’s store occupied claimed that Green stopped paying rent in September. Green denies that claim and argued the real reason was her store’s welcoming attitude to people living on the street.

A statement from Green’s former landlord read “Our staff noted that in addition to the poor state of repair of the premises, there were people loitering about the front of the property throughout the day and evening and sleeping inside and outside the premises nightly” reads a statement from the company that owns the building.

Green ran the convenience store for the last seven years and said she was shocked at the landlord’s decision to evict her. 

Without an inkling to their motives or a formal notice, she was asked to pack up and leave the store. She believes that the eviction is linked to the fact that Crafty Ramen faces her store and seeing homeless people in her store reduces the restaurant’s business. Green started seeking legal help on Oct. 7. and did so until she was evicted and the store was locked on Jan. 21. 

Her personal belongings remain locked up, and she said she fears they will be sold with the property to the next highest bidder.

Despite the court’s verdict and society’s discouragement, Green continues with her motion to help the homeless because they have become family to her and she has formed meaningful bonds with them. 

After her eviction by a sheriff and 10 policemen, she focused on finding a new place where she can build another convenience store that doubles as a roof for shelter at night. Green initiated a fundraiser on Jan 16 to help open a new store and help the homeless, and she aims to collect at least $50,000. 

The fundraiser has collected $220 as of Jan. 29, but Green hopes the response will strengthen in the near future.

“I have to stand up for my rights and for the homeless people’s because no one stands up for them and now they’re my family,” Green said.

She feels grateful that she had the means to help the homeless in the past and wishes to continue to do as much as she can. 

Although she feels that the way she got evicted was disrespectful, she has an enhanced driving force to fight her battles and help those in need because she cannot forget about them. 

Even though she does not have a convenience store anymore, she still visits the homeless and also drove them from one place to another in her car during the GRT strike. 

She feels blessed she has a number of people standing by her side who care about the results, adding that people have set up rallies to support her. Green once encountered a man who said, 

“What can I do, there are so many homeless in Kitchener?” she said. 

“The next time you come across a homeless individual, just look at him or her and say a simple ‘hello’, because they don’t want anything else than to know that they are worthy of existing.” Green concludes that every cloud has a silver lining.

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