Linking Hands to host follow-up forum to shed light on the face of rural homelessness

WINCHESTER— It’s been a year since Fay Martin traveled to Dundas County to find out what hidden homelessness looks like in this region and she is ready to return with the findings.

Linking Hands will welcome Martin to the Joel Steele Community Centre in Winchester Thursday, November 23 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. where she will give a 45-minute presentation, followed by a discussion period.

Martin first visited Dundas County in October 2016 when she met with roughly 20 individuals representing various agencies throughout Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry to discuss the face of hidden homelessness in this part of Eastern Ontario. Since then, the Rural Ontario Institute’s report, Hidden Homelessness in Rural and Northern Ontario, which Martin was involved in, was released, and the 177-page document includes information gathered during Martin’s 2016 visit to this county.

If there are doubts, a Linking Hands Housing Survey was undertaken earlier this year and of the 162 people who participated, six identified as “staying with friends or relatives.” This type of hidden homelessness, also referred to as couch surfing, is prevalent in Dundas County and it affects people of all ages.

“When you use the word homeless it usually conjures a picture of someone who has been living on the streets for weeks, months, or years, but this is not the only face of homelessness,” Linking Hands coordinator Sandy Casselman said. “More often than not, in rural areas, residents won’t see this type of homelessness. In fact, they may not see it at all. Not because it’s not there, but because it’s hidden.”

Linking Hands’ November 23 Homelessness Follow-Up Forum is open to everyone who would like to learn more about hidden homelessness, as well as those who would like to join the discussion on what needs to be done to address this growing issue. The forum is free to attend, however, registration is required by November 18.

For more information, contact Casselman at 613-989-3830 or by email at A link to the ROI report can be found on the Linking Hands website (


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