At a community center inside Brampton’s Grace United Church, a series of photos hang in black and white on both sides of the walls. The images are raw and powerful, telling the real life stories of people who experience homelessness.
It’s a photo exhibit called “A Day In The Life”, and the man behind the project, asked 36 people to document what life on the streets looks like.
“That’s what we asked them to show the world, their lives,” said Garry Glowacki, who’s the Executive Director of Bridge Prison Ministry. “It’s raw, difficult, shocking, and sad as it is.”
The photos were shot over the span of one month. They show a series of images that highlight some of the challenges that come with living on the street, including drug addiction, mental health issues and housing challenges.
“That tells us there’s a real lack of services and resources, and a lack of maybe serious understanding of what people are going through,” Glowacki explained.
As World Homeless Day was marked on October 10th, the Bridge Prison Ministry, an advocacy group, also launched a cookbook called ‘Living Well On Less.’ It features life skills and recipes that take into account the lack of resources and access to grocery stores many experience.
“We don’t have anything like this,” said Natalie Pereira, the administrator at the Bridge. “It’s necessary because it’s allowed people, especially politicians and people in power, to really see that we have an issue and bring light to these issues.”
The initiative, which is also supported by the Region of Peel Council, will see 5,000 of the books distributed for free.
“Homelessness is a tough issue to deal with to be perfectly honest,” said Brampton City Councillor Jeff Bowman. “We try to help, there’s certainly not enough homeless shelters, not enough food banks, to feed everybody.”
As the ninth largest city in Canada, the Councillor says people oftentimes don’t realize Brampton’s population growth also plays a role in the distribution of resources.
“A lot of the larger cities are too spread out, too large and the problem is too great for anyone to deal with,” he said. “These issues exist whether people want them to exist or not.”
With this support, Glowacki hopes to continue advocating for more resources to address homelessness throughout the GTA.
“We hope to put a human face to this and bring attention to homelessness,” he said. “Homelessness is very real, very painful.”
On Friday, the community kitchen will host 150 members of the community for a gathering that will call for a united front in addressing homelessness and will also draw attention to the people who advocate for those living on the streets. The lunch served at this event, will include recipes featured in the cookbook.