Doug Johnson—aka "Dougie"—has been a staple in downtown Peterborough for many years. He is a kind and generous homeless man who has endeared himself to so many with his smile, kindness and gentle nature.
But that all changed on May 1st, when his daughter, Dana—most people weren’t aware Dougie had kids—did a heartfelt and brave Facebook post (see below) after how his mental illness has, in many respects, robbed her of her father—an “incredibly unique human being,” she says.
MY FATHER DOUG: IN DANA’S OWN WORDS FOR PTBOCANADA READERS…
If you have questions or concerns about a loved one, or about yourself, please send me a DM on Facebook. I’m here for you, as you have been here for me.
For 14 hours on March 22nd, 2016, 50 volunteers set out in teams to conduct surveys on the street, in shelters, and at meal programs across the city.
They asked questions such as this:
Where are you staying tonight?
How many different times have you experienced homelessness?
What do you think is preventing you from finding and keeping long term stable housing?
What emerged from those questions was a story of individuals young and old, educated and working—some suffering from addiction, some fleeing abusive relationships, some agonizing over family breakdown, and most wanting to have their story told and understood.
The United Way Peterborough and District just released to the community more specific results from that night on the streets in their first ever "Point in Time Count" of homelessness in Peterborough. This city was one of 31 communities across the country that took part in conducting this ground-breaking research through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy.
Here are some highlights from the report...
-> A minimum of 120 people were homeless in Peterborough on March 22nd, 2016
-> 54% were chronically homeless, having spent over 6 months homeless in the past year
-> 64% experienced homelessness for the 1st time before their 26th birthday
-> 20% have attended post-secondary school
-> 98% have some form of income
-> The top 3 reasons for homeless among participants were: family breakdown, addiction/substance abuse, and unsafe housing.
The public is encouraged to review the full report here and to reflect on next steps in our community to have a strategic focus on ending the reality of homelessness.
You can also give to an Indiegogo campaign to help a documentary being made on the Warming Room's guests.