This summer, Homes First has partnered with Street to Trail, a non-profit organization that provides hiking trips and outdoor adventures to people who are homeless. Street to Trail's mission is to help people rediscover their inner sense of worth using the healing power of the natural world. Homes First residents partake in monthly hiking excursions to promote physical wellbeing, reconnect with nature, build confidence, and find some quiet within themselves away from the city.
The first hiking trip gathered lots of interest, with residents coming together from three different properties to participate. Together the group drove to Crawford Lake in Milton, where they enjoyed the sunshine, beautiful views, and learned about Indigenous traditions. Many residents noted how quiet and peaceful it was and were happy to be away from the constant noise of the city. Despite hiking together for the first time, participants were friendly and supportive, sharing stories of past camping adventures and helping each other when the trail got difficult. You can read more about our hiking experience on the Street to Trail Log.
Observing nature often allows people to examine themselves, and for one Homes First resident, the hiking trips have provided the opportunity to do just that. On her second hiking trip, she commented on what she wanted to change about herself. She told the staff that the hiking trips have inspired her to quit smoking and about how she plans to exercise more to build energy for future hiking trips.
Overall, the feedback from residents has been positive and more trips have been planned for the coming months. Regular participants look forward to a different hiking trial each time, and new participants are eager to join the group and experience an escape from the city. Opportunities such as this one are made possible through donations to the Homes First Foundation General Fund.