Feature Foto: LEAC member at a SIC Society meeting in Lkwungen Territory with other Tent City residents still struggling for home, their slogan: Homes Not Jails, Disability activist’s are saying “Apartments Not Group Homes” and Housed Community Mobilizations are asking Support Coops, Build Affordable Housing and Anti Poverty Activist’s and Homeless Allies are asking Build New Social Housing Starts and Support Tent Cities and Micro House VILLAGES!  Go to intentcity.ca web site for more information on them as well as THAW Advocacy WAtch on VIMEO.

This is a letter that LEAC members sent out this past month and extend it to general public now.

It’s Kym on behalf of the national Lived Experience Advisory Council (LEAC). Thank you so much for coming to the Ally/Activist Dialogue session at the CAEH conference in London as well as to those who came in Montreal. We apologise this took so long, thanks for your patience. Our resources are thin as is our energy as we struggle within this homeless crisis with the added tragedy of the fentanyl crisis.

Local LEAC Chapters and Other Lived Experience Groups

While in London LEAC experienced and learned a great deal. We made tough decisions and are continuing to move forward. We heard requests from LEOH (lived experience of homelessness) who were interested in organizing LEAC chapters in their home communities. Other LEOH already active in other working Lived Experience Groups also expressed interest in networking with LEAC to help build and mobilise LEOH across First Nations Territories within Colonised Canada.

If you are starting a chapter or if you would like to connect your current group with LEAC, please let us know. Send an email to leac4canada@gmail.com and we will get back to you.

Many individuals asked how to join LEAC National: after much discussion, we encourage people in their cities to bring forward who they may want to be a part of LEAC National. Each city and its diverse community of people with Lived Experience of Homelessness (LEOH) and their groups and affiliations can decide who they want to bring forward to represent their areas. Democracy as led by LEOH folks supported by allies. What do you think? If you are an individual not affiliated with any existing LEOH or PWLE groups and want to join LEAC, please do contact us.. All have a voice and we want to hear yours.

We want to help connect local chapters. Our vision is to connect Lived Experience of Homeless people to each other to ensure that our combined voices have the greatest impact possible at all levels of community including government.

LEAC Chapter Characteristics

If you would like to start an official LEAC chapter, we ask that you keep in mind the following guidelines:

A few key points:
– Chapters need to be inclusive of people with diverse experiences and identities, including people who have been criminalized, people with disabilities, drug users, and people whose homelessness has been “hidden”,

– Chapters may want to get support from allies and activists they choose to work with. However, we need to make sure that the leadership is always people with lived experience and it is not the social services sector creating local LEAC chapters.

Governance and Code of Conduct

We are in the process of applying for funding to write up Governance Guide and Code of Conduct. These documents will be based on the capacity building work, the discussions we

had at CAEH, Principles as well as accessing other progressive groups’, union work and building on it thru LEOH experience.

The basic governance pieces are:
-Power should be shared in the group, with all members taking equal roles in decision-making and carrying out the work.
– A transparent process for decision-making that all group members agree to and build upon,
– Work takes place within an anti-oppression framework including consensus. We encourage each new chapter to do the traditional Anti-Oppression 101 and Consensus Building training. It is a critical bonding experience for developing community..

The basic code of conduct pieces are:
– Be respectful, be patient, be honest, and remember love.
– Deal with conflicts directly and as soon as possible.
– If you need help, get it right away. There is no right or wrong, there is only misunderstanding.

As soon as these documents are finalized, we will send to you and they hope to be posted on Homeless Hub for all to use and share.

Over twenty years or more, neoconservatives and neoliberals have cut outreach services, healthcare, and other services such as women’s centres. This has left communities in crisis and, conveniently, the police are the only boots on the ground. All Canadians civil liberties are at risk. This is by design and many have been warning us for years.

In closing…

If you have questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to connect with individual LEAC members by our leac4canada@gmail.com email or phone us.

We want to say as well that we don’t have all the answers. Working together is not always easy. We have learned a lot in facing our own challenges in coming together across different perspectives and experiences. We would like to connect with others doing this work across Canada.

In solidarity, Kim A. Hines LEAC National

LEAC National Members You Can Reach At:


Here we are listed from West to East:

Kym A. Hines, 778-265-0187, Traditional Territory of the L’kwungen WSANEC (Victoria, BC)

Phoenix Winter, Traditional Territories of the Musqueam, the Squamish and the Tseil-Waututh (Vancouver, British Columbia)


Suzi Gursoy, 226-444-0869, Traditional Territories of the Neutral, Anishnawbe and Haudenosaunee (Waterloo, Ontario)

Janice Arsenault, 647-606-3199, Traditional Territories of the Mississauga, Seneca, Haudenosaunee, Neutral and Huron-Wendat (Toronto, Ontario)

Terrie Meehan, 613-894-4325, Traditional Territories of the Algonquin (Ottawa, Ontario)

Leigh Bursey, Traditional Territories of the Haudenosaunee (Brockville, Ontario)

Allies we are actively working with:

Emily Paradis, e.paradis@utoronto.ca Mississauga, Seneca, Haudenosaunee, Neutral and Huron-Wendat (Toronto, Ontario)

Lynn Macaulay, Neutral, Anishnawbe and Haudenosaunee (Waterloo, Ontario)

Alison Kooistra, amkooistra@gmail.com, Mississauga, Seneca, Haudenosaunee, Neutral and Huron-Wendat, Toronto, Ontario

Effie Vlachoyannacos, evlachoyannacos@maytree.com , 416 944-2627 x241 . Mississauga, Seneca, Haudenosaunee, Neutral and Huron-Wendat Toronto, Ontario

Shelley Yeo, shelleyy@anovafuture.org , Neutral, Anishnawbe and Haudenosaunee (London, Ontario)

Trudy Norman PhD, 250-884-0567, L’kwungen WSANEC (Victoria, BC) Bernie Pauly, bpauly@uvic.ca , L’kwungen WSANEC (Victoria, BC)

LEAC Social Media Networks

Find us on Homeless Hub COH:





Suzi Gursoy @SuziGrusoy

THAW Victoria @kymhothead


(with updates and photo’s for this blog) Lived Experience of Homelessness Network: LEOHN: In order to be a member you need to be invited by a member. Its an “invite only” for LEOH and it is a way for us to talk across Canada just with each other, we are growing and already at 85 members, please email me if you are LEOH and want to be invited, we welcome diversity and discusion amongst our community, every other oppressed group in a colonial society gets to meet alone with out others present, women, people of colour, but, not us who have lived on streets! This is so far our ONE spot to do so.

LEAC, Lived Experience of Homelessness (this site is in transition as we had four members leave LEAC while we were doing much needed and welcomed capacity building in London, this helped us all get clear on the diversity of needs within our LEAC and, four chose to leave in order to follow their work: five stayed in order to follow our work, we #UniteTheFight and move forward in bringing ever more LEOH people and their needs for resources to the table of government’s across Canada!  We recognize that we all have a place in production, thank you for your patience and understanding as we transition and, see some of you in Winnipeg for CAEH2017, this years theme is First Nations, I am looking forward to being in my home town, North End! )


15002414_1244894075571733_1772732787501066156_ophoto of LEAC member Phoenix on far right from DTES who will be presenting with Emily Paradis at CAEH2017! Woop Woop! In foto with her is her DTES colleague Priscillia  and two LEOH from the film and album Low Down Tracks, Wendel Cormier on far left, and beside him Bruce Bathgate.


 LEAC members in London doing Capacity Building (thanks to Maytree Foundation): Most of us will still be at CAEH2017 and some will be wearing new hats representing for their new LE groups, as we move forward and we broaden and  #UniteTheFight for all LEOH people across Canada . Respect
Protest Sheraton4Street
Homeless and Housed Ally’s Protested and Marched on CAEH2013 to give feedback regarding solutions that exist to end homelessness that are not being followed due to a kapitalist system of greed and divide.  CAEH was not prepared at all to receive them, even tho they had warning and any attempts at communication with CAEH to help welcome them by myself and other LEOH failed due to systemic issues, some participants managed to get out to protestors but most were stopped by security and police, Emily Paradis ended up writing a great piece on it here: http://homelesshub.ca/blog/can-activists-and-managers-work-together-end-homelessness
Co Founders of LEAC present in this photo in Montreal.
Back in Vancouver,  we had the APC Protest and many insiders  joined them. I organized a meeting with Tim Richter the day after the Protest with Bernie Pauly, Trudy Norman, Leigh Martin and Emily Paradis to help deal with the fallout and the issues surrounding LEOH Activist’s, our allies and how CAEH could approach us and our protest’s in the future, and, how to encourage LEOH to lead.  In that meeting Bernie brought up the AIDS movement and how AIDS Activist’s protested and marched on a conference not unlike what almost just happened at CAEH. I was brave and suggested in that meeting that I could speak to a lot of this in a positive forward moving way at the podium in the closing session. In hopes to share the activist/ ally perspective to the larger group, to use the forward failure model as we prepare for Montreal and possible protest’s there and how we can work together.
Here is the photo taken by Debbie Frost of the closing session with me at the podium: this was the day the seed was planted in Vancouver, on this day an idea was formed between Emily, Suzi and I and we would bring that idea forward.  You can thank activism for that. Thanks APC and that protest, thanks to all who wrote those Principles and worked hard with allies, those who broke thru the police lines and came outside, thanks to all who worked hard every year to get us all to CAEH to directly inform change.
While I was in meetings with Tim, other LEOH folks were also meeting with Emily and they were in touch with Tim and were busy organising around the Principles work folks did, Terrie, Debbie, Jon, Janice I believe?  (this photo is of one of our first informal LEOH meet ups).  We would get together after that fateful APC Protest. Meetings and ideas churned, we were lucky to have Rob Robinson with us, a tireless activist from New York who joined me in a session on Right To Land and Micro Home Village movements.For LEAC its been a good ride, we got a lot done.  Since London, we are two groups moving ahead forging pathways for those coming up behind us, those on streets now, those whose visions are strong and they want Home Not Jails, Affordable Housing, Build New Housing Starts, Support Tent Cities and Micro House Villages De Colonising
Some Lived Experience of Homelessness people from across Canada Pre:LEAC with,Debbie, Janice, Al, Terrie at the mic and I cannot remember the fellows name in orange shirt from China Town Renters Group I beleive (?) Rose Henry was a last minute addition on this panel as well, folks were giving updates from their regions, talking of inclusion and I believe presenting the Principles (?) some of them worked so hard on.  The many LEOH who were in this room and on this panel are still tirelessly working trying to keep heads above water with an extreme lack of resources.