Ongoing Support for Fred

As you all know, we built a house for Fred in December.  She is living there now and doing okay.  There are a number of things that you should all know.  Firstly, she looks better and seems to be doing better all the way around since we lifted her off the ground.  So we did a good thing.  I do not want to invade her privacy, but at the same time I think that it is important that we recognize that the situation that brought her to this is connected to her mental health and so there are things that she will and will not allow which might be a little unusual to those of us who are mentally well.

I share this because it is important to know that she rejected a few pieces of her build.  She did not want to have hooks to hang her coat and other items, she also rejected the smoke and carbon monoxide tester.  Further to this, she also did not want to have a kitchen cupboard to cook on and also did not want to have a butane cooker.  She also did not want to have a propane stove for heating.

This said, without the smoke and carbon monoxide tester, a butane cooker or propane heat would be NOT be safe.  Frankly, I am not sure that it would be the best idea to trust her to manage the stove anyway.  I would not want the very house that we built in order to give her some degree of safety, to be the thing that killed her because she is unable to take care of the heat situation properly due to her mental health.

So this is a bind isn’t it?

However, the important thing to note here is that how she has chosen to heat and cook as well as to warm water for personal hygiene is with candles.   The candles which work best for her area available at Walmart.  There are two kinds which she uses.  The first are jumbo tea light candles which are $9.99 for a large package.  The others are in a jar scented candles there are small ones for $1 each.  These are placed in the two metal containers that we got her and are on a table so they are contained just as they would be in your own home.  I feel that she manages this well.  However, this also means that she has an $80/month bill for candles which given the fact that this is her heat, light and cooking and since she pays no rent on her house it is not such a terrible living expense but it is not great either!

Also there is the issue of her needing to eat, clean her house and also have some dignity, which for her is having containers of water to clean herself and her home, doing laundry, and wearing a little bit of makeup.

Getting to the point, last night I brought her to Walmart for groceries, cleaning supplies, water, and candles. The bill was  $414.97 and I will also bring her to do laundry tomorrow which will be another $30 or so dollars I imagine.

There was (until last evening) a small surplus in the account that was set up to get her house built however, there have been no further donations to help support her.

Unfortunately, I cannot afford to support her so I am hoping that some of you might be willing and able to donate.  If so you can do do here:“>FRED’s HOUSE

If you are in the Hamilton Area and you would LIKE to donate but do not feel comfortable donating cash please consider dropping by Walmart to pick up some jumbo tealight candles, some jarred scented candles, an LED camping light with batteries, bottled water, canned food or gift cards for Walmart or Tim Hortons.  She is allergic to nuts so please no peanut butter!  If this is your preference to you please write to me here or on Facebook and we can work together to get these items to her.

Thank you to all of you who are invested in her well being!

❤ L


Categories: Tiny House Ontario | 25 Comments

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25 thoughts on “Ongoing Support for Fred

  1. Hi! I was there for the build ages ago. Just wondering if you know how she’s doing?

    • Hi Joyce, It is really nice to hear from you.
      Fred is still in the structure but I no longer check in on her. There is a person who runs and organization called Helping Hamilton Homeless who checks in on her now, and because she has some constant funding it is not out of pocket for her (as it was for me). She also organizes to have a new window put in the door annually because Fred smashes it out every summer so far. The other benefit is that the person who checks on her is trained in policing, so knows how to protect herself if Fred goes off side. I wish there was more that could be done to help her, but I don’t really know what since my area of expertise is in tiny houses, not with people who suffer with extreme mental health issues. Moreover, Fred does not want to have help and I am not even decided if she (or others like her) should be allowed to have the right to refuse treatment.
      Be well!
      ❤ Laura
      Kind regards,

      • Oh that’s good to hear! I was chatting with Preston (my friend who came with me for the build), and we wondered if she was still there and safe. That’s great! And great that she’s getting some help from someone in the field. That’s awesome news! You did a really great thing for her 💜💜💜

      • I did not do this alone. All of those who pitched in physically and financially were key to assisting her. You did a great thing too!
        ❤ L

  2. Rigel

    I hope you get what you need to continue facilitating help for her. Is Mental Health Outreach involved?

    • I understand that they are, but I have not seen them before so I can’t really be sure.

      • Rigel

        If you haven’t already, and you’re comfortable doing so, would it be a good idea to contact outreach to see if they can help her access some day programming or drop in services? I hope that they would at least be able to drop off some hygiene/ food kits. I understand there’s barriers, and of course she may not be receptive to this kind of help at this time.
        She is very lucky to have you as an advocate. You have done so much to empower her in a respectful way.

  3. jezziebezzie

    I only wish I had more to give! I just found this community yeaterday & am so thrilled at what an incredible group of people you all seem to be! Although I’m not a bit surprised!

    Laura, I was reading your “Harumph” blog with the correspondence to McMeekin & I had a though. Instead of standing up & fighting Goliath (Hamilton City Hall), what if we try to see if there might be a stealthier (but still honourable) tactic?

    What about contacting a group like Habitat for Humanity & talking to them about partnering on a pilot community for the homeless in Hamilton? They ALREADY have the clout & are in the good graces of the city, so if THEY take the pitch in with you instead of a ragtag bunch of tiny house enthusiasts going it alone? We might accomplish something. If not Habitat, any other well connected group that does good work with the homeless, but isn’t actually employed BY Hamilton. Just a thought.

    I’m in Burlington, BTW. I live in a condo right now, but have wanted to chuck it all & go small for years. I say small ’cause I’m disabled, so a loft style will be out for me. A 4-500 sq ft footprint would be about perfect. And yeah, I do scribble potential tiny house designs the way teenage girls scribble their future married name! And my online window shopping? “Ooooh, a bed in a CABINET! Cool, a corner step-in tub would be safe, small & still let me have a bath!” I’ve been bit by the bug hard!! Jacquie

    • I love that you are thinking about this! Please keep doing so! I love the way that you wrote about scribbling plans because it is picture perfect and also exactly what I did. My own dreams were for that same 3-400 square foot one floor space – radiant floor heating – rocket stove, passive solar – timber frame and straw bale along the ridge where I built Tiny House Ontario… but the both antiquated and arbitrary house minimums stopped this dream cold. Therefore I built below the size allowable – an auxiliary building which can’t be lived in full time. It is a lovely home – but far away from my perfection – and things that don’t fit perfect, you know – they are not ever perfect.

      Do take care of yourself! My daughter-in-law’s darling little sister is suffering through this too… The only consolation is that it is short term suffering. I am hoping that it sets both of you free today!

      ❤ L

      Habitat for Humanity is in trouble here – being sued by people who are living in a bundle of houses, so I think it might be best to stay clear of them here.

  4. Anita

    I was browsing Pinterest and came across this heater that uses candles, and of course thought of Fred. Can someone make a couple for her?

    • She has one. I made it for her and has been there since day one. 😀

      • Anita

        Oh that’s great:-)

      • T. Melnyk

        Hi Laura,

        I was reading about Fred and her predicament and what came to mind while I was reading about all the material things she needs and does or doesn’t want but you didn’t say anything about what kind of medical help she is or isn’t getting? I know there should be a certain amount of privacy in these matters but it was a part of the picture that I think needed to be asked about. Even tea light candles can catch on fire if say curtains are too close or a tea towel gets tossed haphazardly over it by mistake.

        I would hate for people as good as you and your friends and bloggers here on this site to hear she has burnt down her home and perished but if there was a mental health care worker overseeing her state of mind some of this could be avoided thereby saving everyone so much grief and worry and more importantly protecting Fred as well.

        I don’t know is she has any family members who might pitch in and help with mental health care but I would feel so much better just to know that she is well monitored in that regard with regular checkups and maybe even home visits too. In this day of high health care and limited health programs for the elderly/ill I know it can be a struggle to find help but she certainly sounds like she would be high on the list for care with a little advocacy.

        I think what everyone is doing for her is great but to me anyways the bottomline is should she eve live alone with her issues and her safety is paramount.

        At this point I am struggling myself so I won’t be able to donate right now but i hope to soon.

        Take good care and God Bless you, those on this site who care about people like Fred and God Bless Fred herself.

        Take good care.

      • I absolutely agree. It is a difficult predicament all the way around. I have I think taken care of diligence by providing her with metal containers but I can’t really do more. She is non compliant to suggestions. She is insisting that there is a battery operated heater that she needs me to buy her and of course I have explained to her that this simply does not exist. I have brought her into the heater sections in stores and showed her that they are all plug in heaters, but she does not understand or believe me insisting that they are just out of them right now.
        She also won’t use the candle heater that I made for her which is quite safe because it is on a stand, covered and if it dropped it would make noise to alert her that even if one of the candles escaped (which they can’t in the way that I configured it) would go out before it would burn anything.
        She also does not use the solar light because she thinks that it is a camera.
        While I want to help her – financially we cannot without donations by others.
        As far as mental health workers and so on, there are people who do this of course! She is not invisible to them; however – the truth is that if people who are mentally unwell refuse treatment there is nothing that they can do unless they are a danger to themselves or others and while she is difficult in every way to deal with, she is not – I believe – dangerous.
        If she has family, they are not involved in any way that I am aware of.
        Kind regards to you T and thank you for your thoughtful consideration of Fred.
        ❤ L

  5. We are the promoter of the Tiny House festival in Lantier Quebec.

    In July 2015, there were 7 000 participants.

    See on and on

    We propose to help Fred in this fashion:

    We will ask the July 2016 Lantier festival visitors to bring to the festival a candel for Fred.

    Once collected, to which address we shall send the candels to?

    Moreover, next July 27th, Tiny House exhibitors as well as tiny house owners will all come to the Lantier festival together, as a parade on the road.

    From Lacolle Border Custom office, the Tiny House exhibitor’s trucks will stop five times along the road to Lantier.

    The last pause is to take place at Lantier.

    We are hoping to have 35 Tiny houses on wheels ranging from 90 square feet to 250 square feet.

    The tiny House Parade Program should be announced very soon.

    • HEY! This is GREAT! Thank you! ❤ I think we could save some postal fees because Tiny Houser Guillaume who has a place on my land in Kingston works during the week in Montreal. I am sure he would bring them to me in Kingston this summer and I can bring them to her in Hamilton when I come back from there. 🙂 In turn I will promote the event on my blog.

      Thanks for stepping up!

    • Hi Fernand, I have not seen anything on the tiny house festival that suggests that you remembered to organize this for Fred. I hope I am just missing it.
      She really could use the help of many not just a single individual who cannot give her much.
      Kind regards,

  6. Laura, you are being a wonderful human being – this shows in your acceptance of Fred’s idiosyncratic likes and wants. Often people do not understand that persons with mental illness do not or can not accept solutions for practical situations which may be logical and safe. My severely mentally ill sister lives in a private home owned by another ill woman who refused my donation of a new small washer/spin dryer as solution for their laundry dilemma. They continue to hand wash their clothes in small ice cream buckets which sometimes they are too disorganized to manage; thus they have wet buckets of clothing everywhere, some in slimy mold conditions. My solution for this problem neglected to factor in their ability to manage with such a contraption. In the end I have to accept and respect their decision. G

    • Thanks G,
      Really no one likes to be told that there is a better way and – of course it is her house, her rules. 😀
      I simply wish that money would fall from the sky to help her because I can’t financially support (even) her candle needs to be truthful. I simply don’t have enough money to take on more due to my own long term illness and sick pets we are pretty strapped.
      Very kind regards to you and your sister. ❤ L

    • Anita

      Would they accept an old fashioned scrub board and maybe a plastic container that is at least bigger than an ice cream bucket? Like say, something about 12″x24″?

      • I rather doubt that solution would be accepted by them, unless they thought of it themselves first. They both have trouble with control issues

  7. I can’t now.. But I will be able to contribute, soon! You are an angel Laura!! 👏🏼🎉🌺🌹💗🇨🇦👼🏻

  8. Jan

    Thanks, Laura, for reaching out to Fred and showing compassion and concern. Good example for us all.

    • 2BarA

      Laura, Thank you so much for all your help to Fred. I regret that I am unable to offer financial aid right now and I live too far away to donate goods. I hope your explanation of Fred’s behaviour will help to dispel the idea that homeless people should just get a job. If only it were that easy! In helping one person you are making a difference. Kindest regards.

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