Harvey Clause drives his bicycle and trolley everywhere he goes, but his load has gotten slimmer over time. In his binning days, he would carry multiple trolleys behind his bike, but he now just hauls the one. He’s got space to hold some of his stuff at the seniors’ winter shelter, and no longer needs to haul around loads of recyclables and other items he’s found in the bins. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

A WAY HOME

A WAY HOME: Abbotsford’s greenest citizens

Service provider says the homeless population is Abbotsford’s most environmentally friendly

A Way Home - How to help. Photo illustration.
Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

How to help:

It’s the giving season, and as we roll out our series on Abbotsford’s homeless population, many people may be wondering: How can I help?

Click on the image above to be taken to our “How to take action” page for more information.

This is part of our series Finding A Way Home – tales of love, connection and relationships on the streets.

As the world grapples with how to cut emissions in the face of dire warnings of climate change, some lessons could be learned from the local homeless community – some of Abbotsford’s greenest citizens.

“I don’t think it’s a question whether or not they’re Abbotsford’s greenest citizens,” says Pastor Jesse Wegenast, harm reduction co-ordinator with 5 and 2 Ministries.

“They use minimal fossil fuels. If they’re travelling through town, they’re always using public transit. They are some of the most aggressive recyclers, including recycling things that other people don’t, that other people have improperly discarded. … It’s also the re-use of things.”

RELATED: The Giver: A community builder in Abbotsford’s homeless community

RELATED: A WAY HOME: How to take action

RELATED: ‘Bit frightening’: Study finds most Canadian cities fail on climate change plans

For example, Wegenast says his daughter’s tricycle was salvaged from a dumpster and cleaned and serviced by someone who was homeless at the time.

“There are a couple rust spots and whatever else, but it’s a fantastic toy.”

Harvey Clause takes his bike and trolley everywhere he goes. It’s hard to estimate how far he goes each day, but the 58-year-old says it can be several kilometres.

“We’re the best at the recycling business,” adds Clause, who formerly got most of his income from binning – going through garbage bins for recycling or items to use or sell.

“One man’s junk is another man’s present. When somebody else says, ‘Why do you have that broken lighter and that and that?’ Because I can fix it, and if I’m in a dire need of a situation, where I might need a campfire going, I can get this working. And if I don’t have a working lighter, I can make it work. Those are survival skills.”

Gary Hull says he finds his money by similar means, but rather than cans and items in the bins, he has a spot where he knows recyclables and items end up, which is farther out of the community.

“I’m always looking for the money, looking for what I can exchange for money, maybe. But I’m always counting on that $10 to $20 – I want the $20 every day,” Hull says.

Through this kind of work, Clause says he’s found just about everything he has.

“Sometimes you find neat things, like my speakers and all the things I have. All that’s been found; that was not bought. Barely anything I have has been bought. All found. My backpack was found, the jackets I’m wearing, the hoodies. My leather jacket, I found brand new, literally. I find brand new things that are in boxes still in bins.”

Finding a way home
Infogram

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

HomelessHomelessnessHousing and Homelessness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Woman in Fraser Health region confirmed as sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Chalo! FreshCo grocery store opens in Abbotsford

New grocery store jam packed on day one at former Safeway site

Photos of masked-marijuana-clinic robber released by Abbotsford police

Gunman robbed dispensary for cash and weed, still at large

UFV Cascades last Pacwest dance

Volleyball program moving to Canada West play after this weekend’s provincials

Abbotsford basketball teams head to provincials

Several local teams tipping off in Langley starting on Saturday

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

‘Chain reaction pile up’ closes southbound traffic on Coquihalla Highway

Black Press Media has reached out to RCMP, paramedics for details

Exploding enrolment prompts opening of second TWU campus in Richmond

Langley’s faith-based Trinity Western University opens a second campus in Richmond

Fraser Valley seniors’ home residents go without meds for a night due to staff shortage

Residents speak out about staff shortages that are leading to serious safety concerns

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

Most Read