Homeless immigrant heading back to the Philippines after anonymous donor gifts flight

10-Aug-2019 Intellasia | CBC | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Allan Par built an elaborate shack on Omand’s Creek in Winnipeg this summer after finding himself homeless

The man who built himself an elaborate shack on Omand’s Creek after finding himself homeless is now on his way from Winnipeg back home to the Philippines.

Allan Par checked in for a WestJet flight on Wednesday morning at Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, after an anonymous donor offered to pay for his flight back home to Manila, where he’ll land after a stopover in Vancouver.

After waiting several minutes at the check-in desk at the airport, Par walked swiftly to clear security with a big smile on his face, declining an interview.

His story of coming to Winnipeg seeking a better life, only to end up living in a shack he built himself in the St. James industrial area captured the attention of Winnipeggers last month.

Par immigrated to Winnipeg from Manila with the help of sponsors nine years ago. In a previous interview with CBC News, he said he initially bounced from job to job, but was repeatedly let go without explanation.

Then, his relationship and living arrangement with his sponsors soured. He found himself with no money and nowhere to turn.

The 41-year-old ended up building himself an elaborate shack from scavenged pallet wood and other discarded materials off Empress Street, in a busy industrial and commercial area.

“I expected… here in Canada, I have a better job, I have a better work, I have a better life,” he told CBC News in July. “But it’s the reverse.”

Anonymous donor gifts ticket

After CBC first reported on his story, Winnipeggers came forward with offers of help. Dante Aviso a local realtor and active member of Winnipeg’s Filipino community said he decided to ask his community via social media how they should help, after hearing about Par’s story.

“I just made an open question, and there was a lot of suggestions,” he said. “So I finally decided to do an online fundraiser. Then, someone else suggested he’d help get travel documents.”

Aviso set up a GoFundMe account and within a week, it had raised $2,580. The anonymous donor then came forward with the offer of a plane ticket.

The donor was at the airport to see Par off, but didn’t want to be interviewed on camera. They simply said they wanted to help.

Aviso said he wanted to help because he was shocked to see a Filipino person living on the streets.

“We always have work, a place to live, friends to support us,” he said.

Homeless camps still an issue

Par was set to be one of the first people to benefit from a new partnership between the City of Winnipeg and the Main Street Project, focused on finding help for those living in homeless camps in the city.

The city’s 311 service and Winnipeg police now share reports or complaints of homeless dwellings directly with Main Street Project a community group that helps people living on the street rather than focusing on taking down the tents, tarps and structures.

Par was in contact with the group, but voiced his wish to return home to the Philippines rather than waiting to find more permanent housing in Winnipeg, Aviso said.

Throughout this process, Aviso said he’s heard a lot of criticism and judgment around Par’s story.

“I think we should help people, especially in need, and please we should not judge as to why they came to that situation. I think he became depressed and [paranoid] that’s why he couldn’t find a job, and no one helped him,” said Aviso.

“Judging shouldn’t be a hindrance to help people.”

Aviso said he’s been in contact with Par’s sisters in Manila to try to make arrangements for his arrival.

As of Wednesday, Par’s shack was still upright on Omand’s Creek.



Category: Philippines

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