Linda's Walk a big step for homeless women

  • August 12, 2010
Friar Tom PurcellLinda Houston used to sleep on the streets. Years after her death, a charity walk named in her honour will be passing through the same Don Mills, Ont. streets she once called home.

On Sat. Aug. 14, the first-ever 5-km Linda's Walk will take place to help raise awareness for homeless women with mental issues. All proceeds will go directly to support the St. Clare Inn, a transitional housing project where women can "journey towards wellness"  that was created as a result of Linda's death in 2000.

"Women who are homeless and have mental issues are more invisible in our society than men, " said Friar Tom Purcell, Executive Director of the St. Clare Inn. "Men will sleep on grates but women tend to find places like abandoned buildings where they can be protected, so we don't see them very often. That's why Linda stood out living at the park at the corner of Lawrence and Leslie Sts., she thought that was her garden."

Purcell said that the goal of Linda's Walk is to raise public awareness around the fact that a lot of our brothers and sisters are suffering from mental health issues.

"We need to find ways of supporting not only research but the care of these people — and that's what Linda's Walk is about," he said. "But most importantly they have to know that they have value and worth in their lives by the way that we work with them and love them. And, I would say as a friar, as Jesus loves us."

Purcell said that 125 people have registered so far and he is hoping for more than 200 participants.

The walk begins and ends at St. Bonaventure Church at 1300 Leslie Street. Registration is $25 for adults and includes a complementary barbecue meal to follow.

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