Subscribe to keep up to date with the latest research, resources, news and events from The Deck.
You can also sign up to Q Shelter’s monthly newsletter, Home Matters.
My name is Leigh Bursey. I am a 32-year old municipal councillor in the beautiful city of Brockville, Ontario, Canada. Currently in my third term of governance, I have had the privilege of representing this incredible city for the last ten years of my life.
Some look at me and see a spunky punk rocker, covered in tattoos, who probably uses too many expletives to make a point. In fact, one thing that has been consistent for me the last number of years as a public figure is that I am bombastic, colourful, and generally unapologetic. This outgoing exterior does not mean that I am not aware of the world around me or the challenges many face. To ignore these challenges would be to ignore everything that inspires me to battle through my own depression, my family’s poverty cycles, and my own shortcomings as an adult still finding his place.
There was a time in my adolescence where my mother and I pitched a tent in a provincial campsite, fleeing a domestic situation that stripped us of our belongings, our finances, and our dignity. Hope was all we had. That and a killer playlist of songs that would become the soundtrack to our misfortunes, as well as our personal triumphs. Identifying as homeless was never something I was comfortable with until I came to better understand what that term meant. You see, like many, I often pictured homelessness as a traditional stereotype that fostered a large urban narrative.
The purpose of this blog is to do my best to articulate that homelessness and precarious housing is not confined to large urban centres. In fact, not only does it exist in my small city, but it exists just a few hundred feet from my own front door.