Building Kinship to End Homelessness: Connecting Through Shared Joy

By the waterside, a mother proudly photographs a tiny toddler of a fish held aloft by a five-year-old-ish fisherman

Catch of the Day photo by Linda Tanner is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
This post is part of a series about ways that people provide support to those who experience homelessness. The idea that “we treat everyone as kin” resonates through the posts in this series. Finding more and more ways to treat everyone as kin could convince governments to build housing that welcome people who are homeless.

Connecting Through Shared Joy

Fredericton, New Brunswick homeless shelters have put out a call for fishing rod donations. Fishing rods?

Superficially, the statement carries a whiff of Marie Antoinette’s dismissive attitude towards the peasants her husband ruled. In the face of their overwhelming hunger, “Let them eat cake [bread]!”

“Let them go fishing!”

What a callous statement to individuals and families who have no homes.

But the slightest scratch below the surface of this request for fishing gear uncovers a much more positive message: “Everyone needs relief from the basic burdens of life, and we’re kinda partial to fishing as a way of taking a break from life’s miseries, so let’s see if we can find a way of sharing that with our shelter guests.”

It’s a reflection of a North American aboriginal world view of treating everyone as kin1. If everyone can keep an image in their minds of people who experience homelessness as occasional fishing buddies, not just an alien lump in a sleeping bag in the shadows of a dumpster, perhaps our society might move more quickly to create more truly affordable housing.

Read more at the CBC: Fredericton shelters seek gear so homeless clients can fish along St. John River


  1. Try: Building Kinship To End Homelessness: Connection Rooted In Faith

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