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Housing worker sells vintage hats to raise money for Regina homeless

A housing support worker at Carmichael Outreach is trying to reduce the number of people who are homeless in Regina, one hat at a time.

Carmichael Outreach staffer Nicholas Olson created Hat Farm project to help keep people off streets

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      A housing support worker at Carmichael Outreach is trying to reduce the number of people who are homeless in Regina, one hat at a time.

      Nicholas Olson not only helps people find adequate housing, but he helps them overcome obstacles that lead to homelessness.

      "In seeing and working with people in the community that hit these barriers, we needed a little bit of financial help," said Olson.

      He and the other housing support workers often find themselves pulling at purse strings trying to keep people safe and off the street.

      According to Olson, the money Carmichael Outreach runs on "is just going towards staff and keeping the lights on in the building kind of thing."    

      Using some of the donated resources the organization has access to, Olson created a fundraising project called the Hat Farm.

      Hat donations lead to fundraising project

      Housing support worker Nicholas Olson started Hat Farm earlier this year as a project to raise money for his clients at Carmichael Outreach. (Roxanna Woloshyn/CBC)

      Earlier this year, Olson noticed a stack of vintage hats sitting on a shelf in the clothing room.
          
      "I just grabbed them, took pictures of them, and then eventually figured I might be able to sell them and use the money for the housing program."

      The hats all have vintage-looking logos, many from Saskatchewan companies and crown corporations including SGI, the Wheat Pool and SaskTel. 

      Olson said others appear to be souvenirs from trips to Hawaii and family reunions. Some, like the CBC Radio hat, have been scooped up quickly.

      He posts pictures of the hats on social media and sells the hats for between $10 and $30, though he thinks he could get $50 for a few treasured pieces.

      The money goes to wherever and to whomever needs it the most at the time. 

      "For example, we have spent a little bit of money on helping people get ID so that they could get hooked up with a health card so that they could get hooked up with the rental supplement so that they could actually afford their rent," explained Olson.

      Ultimately, Olson wants to build a sustainable project. He'd also like to raise enough money to buy a truck that could be used to help people move.
          
      To purchase a hat, check out @TheHatFarm on Instagram or email thehatfarm@gmail.com.
          
      Hat Farm will also have a booth at the Prairie Flea vintage clothing sale at the Exchange on Sept. 13.

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