All of us from time to time acknowledge a homeless person. It can be someone standing by the ATM or in front of the dépanneur, and our acknowledgment can take the form of a simple smile or a brief chat. Such attention lets the person living in precariousness know that he or she is worthy as a human being. We can learn a lot from such experiences and, more often than we would think, we can help someone out to, say, find a toaster, a sleeping bag, a job, an apartment... A brief, chance meeting every day can lead to a weekly chat over a cup of coffee, without your becoming a saviour, ruining yourself financially or putting yourself at risk.

ATSA wants to stimulate such initiatives and get the public to dare break through the isolation street people experience every day. Many organizations working with street people already offer such opportunities for this type of interaction.

We have collaborated with Sac à dos, an organization working for the social and economic integration of homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless, in order to develop a safe and meaningful Citizen Buddy system. Good judgement must be exercised. It is better not to give your telephone number or address or develop a relationship based on dependence, unless you become good friends with the person you meet with. And ATSA has plenty of good friends!

It is important to acknowledge such gestures, for it is known that giving something a name makes it easier to share with others. And if the millions of rather well-off Quebecers simply got down to it, there just might be less suffering.
So smile, and say “Bonjour”!

More in this pdf document (in french):



Amandine and her two new friends - photo Baptiste Fhont Darcy