Tuesday, Dec 05, 2023
1:30pm - 3:00pm
Marion Thomson Howell
It is hard to open a paper or listen to a news cast today and not hear about the issue of homelessness. You don’t even have to read the paper – just drive down our streets by wooded areas, under bridges and you will see tents and encampments. Walk down King Street and you will see people sleeping in doorways and panhandling for cash. The Region of Waterloo’s Point in Time count, released in 2021, reported that we have almost 1100 homeless people in the region and of those 1100, over 400 are completely unsheltered.
By every measure, we have a growing crisis on our hands and rather than looking the other way, a growing number of people and organizations are making a difference – one tiny home at a time. A Better Tent City (ABTC) is one of those organizations.
In this presentation Marion Thomson Howell will tell the stories of ABTC – stories about how it was formed, stories about the people who have made it their home, stories about the people who keep it running, and stories about why they keep going.
Now retired, Marion spent the last 35 years as President of ShaughnessyHowell, an award-winning learning and development company. In addition to her professional role, she has also always been a strong contributor to the community. She was elected as a trustee for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board in both the 2003 and 2006 elections, serving as Vice Chair and Chair of the Board. She served in same roles on the Board of Governors for St. Jerome’s University and is currently the Chair of the Board of Trustees for St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener.
In March of 2021 her life changed when she was invited to attend a meeting of community leaders who wanted to continue the legacy of Ron Doyle, the founder of A Better Tent City, an organization that provides safe shelter and support for those who are experiencing homelessness. As a founding director, Marion led the work associated with gaining non-profit and charitable status for the organization and now oversees issues related to the residents who live on-site.