On May 1, 2016, Joe Roberts, former homeless youth, began pushing a shopping cart across Canada to raise awareness and dollars to end youth homelessness. It seemed a strange journey for someone to take on: a 9,000 km walk across the country that was calculated to take about a year and a half to complete. But Joe knows, from the inside, what homelessness among young people really entails, and how vital it is that we, as a nation, come to understand that too, and take steps to end it.
Pushing a shopping cart is a highly symbolic gesture: how many times have you seen a homeless person pushing all their worldly goods, wrapped in plastic bags and hanging off an old and creaking shopping cart? In our own communities, homelessness can be invisible, but it is very real all the same. Young people hanging around coffee shops through the night, with nowhere else to go. Or sleeping on a couch in some friend’s house, not knowing where they’ll be the next night.
Joe passed through this area last October, stopping in Merrickville and Kemptville along the way to speak to people and raise awareness of the homelessness issue. People who met him then were really impressed and, as he nears the end of his journey, we thought you’d like to know how he’s getting on. Well, the photograph tells quite a story: Joe Roberts in the Rockies. But he’s moved much further on since then even, and is now moving along the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, heading for his home in Vancouver. This is Day 482 of his adventure, only 19 days to go: almost 8,700 kms walked, around 400 left.