Homeless in Winnipeg: Pinoys tumulong sa kababayan

Allan Par finds himself homeless after nine years as an immigrant in Winnipeg. (Photo: CBC News Winnipeg)

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Immigrant falls through the cracks

By Ted Alcuitas

Kababayans in Winnipeg came to the aid for one of their own as news broke out of a Pinoy living in a shack made out of discarded wood.

Allan Par came to Winnipeg nine years ago with the hope of making a new life in Canada.

Now he lives in a shack under a parking bridge over Omand’s Creek off Empress Street in the St. James area near Polo Park.

homeless shack

A group of Filipinos brought food and supplies to this Pinoy’s shack after his story came out of the media. Rod Cantiveros, publisher of Filipino Journal is seen at left and realtor Dante Aviso who started a GoFund Me for Par.  ( Screen grab, CTV News.)

The 41-year old carpenter made his “home” out of discarded and donated materials after living in the streets for a while.

He told media that he came to Winnipeg with the help of sponsors, probably through Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program.

He had bounced from job to job in the first three years but was repeatedly let go without explanation, according to a report by CBC News.

When his relationship and living arrangements soured and with no money, he had nowhere to go but the streets.

“I expected … here in Canada, I have a better job, I have a better work, I have a better life,” he said. “But it’s the reverse,” he told CBC.

Part of him regrets coming to Canada.

Back home, he said he was employed in the welfare and social work sector, helping the unemployed learn how to use computers.His job was to help people, Par said, and he recognizes the troubling irony of his situation these days.

Now he is the one needing help.

His case came the attention of Winnipeg Police Cosntable Brian Boyd who investigated a complaint about the shack.

Boyd, a 20-year veteran of  the police force soon discovered Par was no ordinary homeless person but a resourceful human being just needing a job.

Boyd connected par to social service agencies in the city who quickly got on the scene and are now arranging housing accommodations for him.

His faith kept him warm…

According to the CBC, Par will continue working on his shack while the weather is warm and will wait to see how things pan out.

He says he doesn’t drink or do drugs, and chose to live outside of downtown, away from the shelters and soup kitchens where most of Winnipeg’s homeless reside, because he finds the Empress area safe.

Before he settled near the bridge, Par spent cold nights at the airport and early mornings at a West End community gym.

Apart from a sleeping bag and clothing, he says the only thing he had to keep him warm through frigid nights last winter was the heat given off by five candles … and his faith.

Allan Par’s ‘home’ built of discarded and donated materials. (CTV News Winnipeg photo)

Inside his building, a rosary hangs over Par’s bed, which was built with a combination of pallets and blankets.

“Every time I am stressed, I pray,” says Par, who’s Roman Catholic. “My life here in Canada is very, very poor.”

To donate to the fundraiser for Allan Par, go to this link:


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