Low-rent landlords are a relatively rare breed, providing rental accommodation for people who otherwise might not have a place to call home.
Debra Powell considers herself one of them, which is why the United Way Day of Caring held at her Carson Street rooming house on the weekend deserves special note.
In a province where shelter costs greatly exceed the allowance granted to people on social assistance, the help makes all the difference, the difference between the street and a bed of your own.
"I guess one reason we did it is that I've been one of the few private landlords in the city running a rooming house, not for profit but as a private citizen," Powell said.
Powell is thanking the United Way and ASK Wellness, which provided funds from its recent Dining Out for Life fundraiser, for making it possible to continue.
On Saturday, 11 volunteers worked around the property, which is the home of 13 tenants at risk of homelessness. The volunteers built a fence, which provides physical support enabling a resident with limited mobility to reach his scooter. They cleaned up old furniture and built two new picnic tables in the yard.
Painting, carpet cleaning and removal of dead trees from the property are still to be done. Arbourscapes Tree Service is donating its time for the tree services. Superior Roofing will be helping with roof issues.
"There are so many people in this community who reach out and help when there's work to be done," Powell said.
"It's really beneficial, and not only to myself but, obviously, to my impoverished tenants who live in the house. It just allows us to keep doing it. It's not a huge monetary gain, let me tell you."