After immigrating to Canada in hopes of a better future, Allen Par, a carpenter by trade, found himself living on the streets of Winnipeg.
Tired of spending cold winter nights under a bridge near a shallow, Par spent the last two months building a place he could call home.
“I help myself to make a house, because I want a better sleep every night,” Par told CTV Winnipeg.
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Using wood from pallets donated by local businesses, Par put his carpentry skills to use building the makeshift home. He purchased nails and shingles using money earned returning shopping carts at the local grocery store.
Par immigrated to Winnipeg from the Philippines in 2010. After losing his job in 2014, he became homeless and has been living on the streets since.
“I’m here in Canada to find work. Like other immigrants, you go to Canada to find work and a better picture—that’s it,” he said.
But even as he builds symbolic front steps leading to his makeshift home—one for each of the six years he’s been homeless—Par knows his newfound shelter could be taken away from him at any moment by the city.
In a statement to CTV News, the City of Winnipeg said it is working with community groups to “develop an inclusive plan for temporary encampments going forward to ensure greater consultation takes place before the city takes actions that impact those experiencing homelessness."
Local organizations, such as the Main Street Project shelter, are aware of Par’s situation and said they are working with authorities to help people like Par who are living in temporary encampments.
Though Par’s home is hard to miss, local business owners say Par has been nothing but respectful, even tidying the surrounding area.
“Omand’s Creek tends to have a lot of litter around it,” said Jasmine Illsley, who works at a nearby store.
“He picks it up, supplies garbage bags, fills the garbage bags and leaves them to the side for the city to pick up.”
Though the future of his home remains in question, Par says his hope is to find a new job and never have to sleep on the streets again.