David Mattes of Oliver has helped put together a showcase in Oliver on the corner of Main Street and Fairview Road in support of the homeless in the South Okanagan.
The display, which features around 40 birdhouses, shows off many of the barriers that homeless people face in our communities; from education and food to affordability and more.
The houses were purchased and built by Mattes and then decorated by members of the community, including some by the Painted Chair, an upcycling store that provides support for those in need and with developmental disabilities.
Mattes says he was inspired by an Okanagan Friendship Society table at a trade show in Oliver with birdhouses on it.
“They said, ‘we have a workshop where we allow homeless people to come in and build the birdhouses and then we sell them and they get the money,’” Mattes told the Western.
Mattes originally intended to purchase 40 birdhouses from the Friendship Society but was unable to due to COVID, and instead began building them over the winter, before making arrangements to display them.
Many of the houses lack the traditional hole normally found on birdhouses, which is another way to present the barriers in housing.
The houses are not just a display for awareness, but a way to fundraise as well, with sponsors able to get their name or company put on a post in exchange for their donation.
Mattes says he’s undecided on how he’s going to donate the money, but that he won’t be going through any big organization in order to ensure the homeless receive the full benefit.
“It may be as simple as going directly to [someone] and asking ‘what do you need?’” he added.
Anyone interested in adding a birdhouse of their own can do so by simply building or buying a house and either painting or decorating it accordingly then bringing it down to Oliver, where Mattes will attach it to a pole and have it added to the display.
Mattes can be reached for either donation or to add a birdhouse at his phone number, (250)-488-5936 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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