GUELPH POLITICAST #160 – Paul Tavares, Homelessness Advocate

Homelessness is a hot issue right now. In the midst of an incredible winter cold spell, it’s probably quite timely that we should think about the people who have no choice but to live out in the elements. But one man is living out in the cold voluntarily, and he’s hoping that his example will galvanize more attention to the plight of homelessness in Ontario.

This week on the podcast, we’re joined by Paul Tavares. A long-time homelessness advocate, and a one-time candidate for Mayor of Cambridge, Tavares is presently in the midst of a campaign called 90 Days and Nights in the Cold. It’s a stretch he’s done before, camping out in a Cambridge park and raising nearly $14,000 for the cause, but his current 90 Days is a bit more ambitious.

Since early January, Tavares has been setting up in an Ontario city for a one-week hitch to raise awareness about homelessness in the area. He’s been through Cambridge, Kitchener, and Hamilton (he tried three times to set up in Guelph), and he’ll soon bring his tour to Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay, Ottawa, Kingston, and Toronto, and more. The goal is to not just to raise awareness, but to learn about how different communities are working on the issue. What can we learn from each other, and from different approaches?

So in a free-flowing discussion about his mission to raise awareness about homelessness, Tavares talks about whether the media’s holding up its end, his own personal experience with homelessness, why it drives him, and what it’s taught him about the best way to deal with the issue. He also discusses why it might be more beneficial to appeal more to private groups and individuals to act instead of putting more pressure on governments and aid agencies, and why homelessness is a community effort that should be shared by everyone.

So let’s talk about being out in the cold on this week’s edition of the Guelph Politicast!

Paul Tavares’ 90 Days and Nights in the Cold tour presently sees him setting up camp in Belleville. To follow along with the campaign, you can go to the Facebook page here, or follow Tavares on Twitter here.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday’s episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

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