Cambridge man camping out 90 nights for homelessness
‘People are homeless now,’ Paul Tavares says of mid-winter awareness campaign
Over the past week, Paul Tavares has camped out in snow, freezing rain, high winds and mild winter temperatures.
Tavares has set up a small abode across from The Bridges shelter on Simcoe Street in Cambridge to raise money for the shelter and awareness about homelessness in his city.
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"I wanted people to say, 'What's going on? And then come here and ask me questions," he said Monday on a cellphone outside his tent.
He said he has received a lot of support; People honk as they drive past him, "complete strangers" and friends have brought him gift cards to get coffee at the nearby Tim Hortons, and he said he even received a call from a group in Wiarton, Ont., offering help.
"I've kind of got my own little furnace going on inside me," he said. "I do not regret what I'm doing and I doubt that I will ever feel any regret throughout this 90 days."
'People are homeless now'
Tavares pitched his tent at 6 p.m. on Feb. 6 and despite the "rollercoaster" of winter weather over the last week, he said he will press on.
"I've had a couple of my friends ask me, why don't I do this when it's warmer or why don't I do this indoors," he said. "People are homeless now."
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So far, Tavares said he has helped raise $1,200 for The Bridges shelter, which he says is bursting at the seams with people who need a place to stay.
He knows first hand what it's like to struggle. While he has a home now, he said he has previously been homeless and he's currently unemployed.
He said he's going to use the time in his tent to think about what's next for him.
"The overnight, in the tent, I'm on my own, but that's given me some time to do some soul searching because at the end of this 90 days, my life has to go on," he said.