The 41-year-old, Allan Par, immigrated to Winnipeg from Manila nine years ago. He used to be a welfare and social worker in the Philippines. In the first few years since he moved, he has been bouncing from one job to another because he was repeatedly let go without explanation.
“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.”
His sponsors helped him get to Canada but their relationship and living arrangement didn’t work out so he was forced to make do with what he had. With no job, no money and support network, Allan improvised and built himself a home.
The shack he built from scrap materials backs onto a parking lot bridge over Omand’s Creek off Empress Street in the St. James industrial area. He’s been living beneath the bridge and in the shack for the past year with a sleeping bag, clothing and his faith. He only had candle for heat through the frigid nights last winter.
A part of him regrets leaving Manila. He is skeptical about his prospects in Winnipeg after all the years of living on the streets.
The shack was reported to the police days ago due to disturbance. Winnipeg police Const. Brian Boyd who came to investigate did not find any disturbance but found a man who needs help. He then arranged for a city social worker to visit Allan in the past weeks.
The case was then handed off to the Main Street Project, a community organization and shelter that helps the homeless. In line with this, the shack won’t be taken down just yet until they know how to deal with Allan’s sensitive case.
Since Allan’s story was published, many Pinoys have reach out to Allan. They have been dropping off water, food, clothing, and there were some who even offered him jobs. In turn, he ultimately wishes to thank everyone who have helped him and visited him in his shack.
When asked about his future plans, Allan wishes to go back to the Philippines. His father in the Philippines passed away last year and he wasn’t able to see him off due to his situation in Canada. He simply couldn’t afford it. Also, due to his current poor situation, he thinks he might be able to start anew back home.
The Filipino community has set up a GoFundMe campaign for Allan to help him fulfill his wish. If you would like to help out of the goodness of your hearts, you may donate here. (https://www.gofundme.com/