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Clean Teams

““It’s part of being seen,” adds Mike. “And it shows that we’re considerate.”

Clean Teams

One of the first suggestions that Jim has for the Clean Team at My Place is to rename it the Care Team.
“Because we care about our community,” he adds. “That’s why we go out and pick up trash, glass, discarded needles, cigarette butts, anything that shouldn’t be on the ground.”
When My Place, a transitional shelter in the former Boys & Girls Club on Yates Street, first opened, the new residents wanted to show the neighbourhood that they weren’t people to be feared. They simply needed housing.

MY PLACE: Mike & Jim

To that end, the first Clean Team was started to patrol the community and clean it up. The program was so appreciated by the neighbours that the program has been expanded to other housing and shelter sites that Our Place operates.

“I like going to work,” says Jim. “And I always say hello to the dogs, and that gets people smiling and talking.”

His fellow Clean Team member, George, agrees. “I find that people are really friendly, and they always say ‘thank you’.”

“It’s part of being seen,” adds Mike, a third member of the team. “And it shows that we’re considerate.”

Mike, Jim and George have worked for most of their lives until circumstances led them to lose housing and end up surviving on the streets. My Place offered them an opportunity to begin rebuilding their way back into permanent housing.

At Caledonia, a small village of supported housing units beside Royal Athletic Park, the team is equally enthusiastic about their contribution to the neighbourhood.
“I just love to help,” says Tina. “And that I want to keep things clean so that children are kept safe on our streets.”

Meeting the neighbours is an important aspect of the team, says Jamie. “Letting them know that just because we’re homeless people or whatever, we’re not nobody, we’re nice, we’re respectful, you can approach us, talk to us.”

Aly adds: “It’s nice to have a chance to change people’s idea about what the people here are doing and what it means for their neighbourhood.”
While schedules vary per site, the Clean Teams typically operate for one hour per day, four days a week, and there is a small weekly stipend for the workers.

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