Homeless Arnprior man finds spot to settle down
ARNPRIOR, ONT. -- Tuesday was moving day for Guy Lamarche, a 64-year-old homeless man from Arnprior; but he may be losing that title after settling down in a familiar spot in town.
Lamarche has been building his own shelter, a bunkie as he calls it, by hand on a property in Carp since September. Recently, the property was sold and the new owners requested Lamarche leave by the end of February.
After his story of needing a new place and way to move his bunkie gained traction around the town of Arnprior, Lamarche received a flood of messages of support and people offering help. One of those people was Brandon Ekholm, a local farmer.
“I’ve seen Guy’s story on Facebook,” says Ekholm, when asked why he decided to help Lamarche. “It really touched home for me. Part of my family was homeless. In my opinion, everybody deserves a home to go home to at night. Nobody should be living on the streets. So that was my big push to get this done.”
Ekholm says he has experience moving buildings in the past, but put out calls to over 30 area businesses to ensure the right hands were able to help. One of those offering their services was Wazzi Mohammadi, owner of Wazzi’s Towing.
“Lots of people called me and I got a call from Brandon, and he called me and said I need your help,” says Mohammadi. “I got the right crew around us, the help that I need, everybody is here to give us a hand, so I think everything will go smoothly.”
Mohammadi also made a call, bringing in Jerry Leonard and his crane. “It’s nice to help out; it’s not always about the money,” says Leonard, owner of Jerry’s Truck N’ Boom.
“It’s a big day to be able to move this,” says Lamarche. “I thought I was going to have to abandon my bunkie. But it’s come together with an amazing wave of generosity and kindness from all the people everywhere.”
After reinforcing the bunkie and strapping it to the crane, it lifted off its footings with only a few creaks. Lamarche has to feel good about his architecture skills as well, with the bunkie holding strong even after a sizeable fall onto Mohammadi’s flatbed.
A convoy then escorted the wide load down Highway 417 into Arnprior, where Lamarche’s bunkie was set right next to the picnic table where he used to spend countless days and nights. Lamarche’s tiny home now rests near the Arnprior Giant Tiger, in a parking lot located on private property, the 64-year-old given permission to settle down there.
“I’m ecstatic, I’m overjoyed, and I can’t wait to go in and start living,” says Lamarche after his bunkie settled under the tree that he’d always hung his bird feeder in.
“I thought I would end up abandoning my bunkie really, and this is just a little miracle honestly. And I want to thank everybody who’s helped me, and worked so hard, and I’m just so happy.”