An Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who found himself homeless in Canada is on his way back to the Philippines, after an outpouring of support from the community. The homeless OFW was unemployed and living on the street when reporters of the CBC found him.
The CBC’s Sam Samson reported that the OFW is now on his way back home to the Philippines, after more than nine years in Canada
HOMELESS OFW UNABLE TO FIND A JOB, LIVES ON THE STREET
Allan Par came to Canada as an OFW under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TWFP). After losing his job and finding himself unable to navigate the complex system of employment for foreign workers, Par found himself living in a shanty he built for himself near Omand’s Creek in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Par boarded a Westjet flight at Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport after a generous soul paid for his return flight home to Manila, Philippines. He’ll be making a stopover at Vancouver, British Columbia before heading back home.
CBC News was at the airport hoping to speak with Par, but he declined an interview but did give reporters a big smile before clearing security.
CBC REPORT ON HOMELESS OFW GOES VIRAL
The OFW made headlines after the CBC featured Par in a report, admiring the Filipino’s tenacity.
He had built a shack for himself in the St. James area of Winnipeg, made from material he had scavenged from local businesses.
He had arrived from the Philippines over nine years ago, but was let go by his original Canadian employers.
Due to the complex nature of the Canadian immigration system, foreign workers often have a difficult time finding new employers.
Typically, foreign workers cannot work for any other Canadian employers other than the one stated on their Work Permit.
Canadian employers must themselves be approved by the Government of Canada before they can hire foreign workers legally.
HOMELESS OFW SADDENED BY UNFORTUNATE TURN OF EVENTS
This was the situation Par found himself in. Despite the large Filipino community in Winnipeg, Par was unable to find the support he needed and ended up living on the streets.
Speaking to CBC News last month, he said that he never thought he’d end up being homeless.
“I expected … here in Canada, I have a better job, I have a better work, I have a better life, but it’s the reverse.”
MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY STEPS UP TO HELP HOMELESS OFW
When news of the homeless OFW became public, members of the Filipino community in Winnipeg stepped up to help. Among them was Dante Aviso, who organized a GoFundMe campaign to help the OFW.
“I just made an open question, and there was a lot of suggestions,” Aviso told Trevor Brine of the CBC. “So I finally decided to do an online fundraiser. Then, someone else suggested he’d help get travel documents.”
The GoFundMe campaign raised CAD2,580, not quite enough for Par to get home to the Philippines. Fortunately, an anonymous donor chipped in by donating a airplane ticket back to Manila.
A few members of the community were at the airport to see Par off, including the donor who chose to remain anonymous.
Aviso told the CBC that the experience was atypical of the Filipino community.
“We always have work, a place to live, friends to support us,” Aviso said.
After having been contacted by members of the community helping the homeless OFW, representatives from the Philippine Government issued travel documents to allow Par to board a flight so he can go home.
CITY OF WINNIPEG WORKING WITH NOT FOR PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS TO SUPPORT HOMELESS
The homeless OFW was one of the first people to receive services under the new partnership established by the City of Winnipeg and the Main Street Project, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the homeless in the city.
Whenever the Winnipeg Police Service receives a report about homeless people, they contact the Main Street Project, which then sends support workers to determine how best they can help.
While Par is well on his way back to reuniting with his family in the Philippines, his shack still stands on Omand’s Creek, a reminder that even in Canada, people can still fall through the cracks.
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