Being Homeless During a Steinbach Cold Snap
February 8th, 2015

Steinbach Online
Dorian McDonald’s brother, Nevin McDonald (on the right) builds a new table for Dorian’s new place.

Twenty-one-year-old Dorian McDonald has experienced winter in a way that many will never have to.
McDonald has been homeless for the past year, which happened shortly after moving to Steinbach to be with family and escape homelessness in Winnipeg. He admittedly made bad decisions and found himself back on the street. McDonald recalls trying to stay warm during bitter winter temperatures by trying to warm up on bus shack heaters or going through recycling bins to find cardboard to build himself a make-shift house with, and then burn newspaper to keep warm.

McDonald says for the most part he went from house to house for places to sleep, which is referred to as “couch surfing” and is why homelessness does not often have a visible city presence during colder weather.
Homelessness is not just uncomfortable, it’s dangerous. Especially so in Winnipeg. While sharing his cardboard home with three other homeless men during winter and trying to keep them warm at his fire, he was attacked and robbed for ten dollars by one of the men. Another incident occurred at a bus shelter where a stranger accused him of being a “fake homeless guy” and sprayed bear mace in his face. McDonald says even when the weather is nice, you can’t go to sleep during the night for fear of being robbed or stabbed.
After recognizing McDonald was in bad shape on the street, a stranger tried to help him, and eventually, he was referred to Today House in Steinbach.
Irene Kroeker recalls the first time McDonald arrived at Today House. “When Dorian came in, he had bronchitis, a broken ankle and needed some TLC and anti-biotics.” After staying at Today House for a few days, McDonald appreciated having the staff listen to him and acknowledge the rough time he’s been through. He said he felt the genuine caring from every one of the staff members. “At the Today House, they helped me and they made me feel like I was a part of their family. Irene and the ladies at Today House are my angels!”
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