MOORES MILLS – Karen and Ralph Densmore of Moores Mills were sitting in Tim Horton’s one recent evening, and they learned there are people in the area who have no place to live because their building sold, and they had to move out. It bothered the couple people had no place to live due to lack of rentals. So they decided to do something about it. The Densmore’s are clearing some of their land to make room for campers for people can live in until they are able to find suitable housing. Now, all they need are the campers, and the industrious couple are seeking donations.

“That’s not right in this day and age, people being homeless,” said Karen Densmore. “Families! I’m not talking about people that are homeless because they chose their drugs over their rent, but even them, they need a second chance. This is not going to be that for them. But, it will be for people that just can’t find rent.”

When asked why she chose campers, Densmore said campers have all of the comforts of home, even if they are small. Each unit has a small fridge and stove, and some even have microwaves. There are beds, furniture, and people can feel secure in knowing they have a place to live.

“I figured campers, because it’s easiest. I can’t build them a home because of wood prices. I live in a one-bedroom cabin in the middle of the woods. I’m not rich by any means. I’m hoping to get all of it done by donations,” said Densmore.

She said hard-top campers can be winterized, so they will be habitable through the winter months. As she is outside town limits, Densmore is not subject to many of the regulations that might prevent her from doing this type of project if she lived right in town. Of course, there are some regulations which must be followed, and she plans on going by the book. There will be legal rental agreements drawn up, rules to be followed, etc. But, the crux is to ensure people who are currently homeless have an affordable place to live they can call their own, even if it is temporary.

“I figured I’ve got a little lane up there where I normally take my walks. All through that laneway, I could put three or four campers up there. And, they would have their own space.”

There will be some rules those onsite will be required to follow. First, Densmore said there are to be no illegal drugs on the property. There will also be no fire pits allowed, although she does have space for a “community bonfire”.

Densmore is looking for donations to help to create this area for people to live. She is looking for cheap, or even better, free, older-style, 20-foot, hard-top campers, complete with fridges and stoves, as well as free towing services to get the campers onto her property. She knows it’s a big ask, but she is passionate about helping those who do not have a place to live. For instance, there is one potential family of three who are currently living in a tent. Both parents work, but they are unable to find a rental to live in.

“They will be the first ones to get the first trailer,” said Densmore. “It’s all because they can’t find rent. It’s not because either one of them aren’t working. It’s not because they’re drug addicts or alcoholics. They had to have an address because school is starting. I told them the bus comes right by my house every morning and every night.”

Densmore is working on setting up a GoFundMe page to purchase campers if none are donated. She is also seeking donations of household items, including bedding, linens, and kitchen items. She doesn’t have a lot of money herself, but wants to do as much as possible to help those in need. She has already received some donations, including dishes, bedding, and a can of coffee from Beyond Horizon Pre-K.

Densmore also has a habitable insulated shed with a wood stove, and one gentleman who is currently living in his car has expressed an interest in staying in it. The shed has two rooms, one with a living space and one that is her woodworking shop. Densmore has even said if anyone staying on her property would like to do some woodworking to make extra income, they are welcome to use her workshop and tools.

“I have a single guy who is coming, and he’s going to come out and redo the shed,” said Densmore. “It does have a fridge and a woodstove in it. He likes that kind of life. He works every day, does not drink, does not do drugs, does not smoke. He just likes his peace and quiet. He’s renting the shed. I’ve got a couch in there, a coffee table, a stove and a bar fridge. Not only that, he’s going to come and help me take out a clump of trees that I need taken down to get a 20-foot trailer in there.”

Densmore loves her property, and said she doesn’t intend to take down all of the trees. She is just making enough space to house a few campers for people who have no other place to live. She can easily place four campers on the property without it affecting her own lifestyle in any way, and she figures she can add more if necessary.

“If it goes up to five, okay, we’ll fit it somewhere. If I have to buy them, I will, but I’m going to finish doing it.”

Densmore is not the least bit worried about any negative comments regarding her plan to help house the homeless. She said she has received some negativity about the project, but such comments wont’ stop her from helping those who truly need it.

“I did get some bad remarks from one person, saying, ‘oh, you’re going to get a bunch of meth-heads and someone’s going to burn down your home’. I don’t believe that every homeless person is a drug addict or an alcoholic. Some people are just down on their luck and they need a hand-up.”

If you would like to help with donations of any kind, Densmore would be more than grateful, as well as those who will benefit from this generosity. She will accept e-transfers at mrskdensmore54@gmail.com, or people can drop off donations to her at 1136 Route 750. She can also be reached by phone at 249-1116 for further information.

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca