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A Homeless Woman Built Herself A House And Then Got Charged? I Think I'm Gonna Swear.

She had to come up with an alternative to freezing to death. You'd think they'd be cheering her on for being resourceful and coming up with a fantastic solution. Right?

A Homeless Woman Built Herself A House And Then Got Charged? I Think I'm Gonna Swear.

Darlene lives in a remote part of northern Ontario, Canada. She's homeless and it's the middle of winter. Did I mention it's minus 22 degrees Celsius? She struggled after her son died by suicide and has been without a home for years. She doesn't want charity — just a chance to be independent ... and warm.


She could easily freeze to death in that weather, but Darlene came up with a very resourceful solution. She got some donated materials and built herself a home.

She should be applauded right? Nope, she was charged.

Yep, the Ontario government has ordered her to stop building her "one-room cabin," which is about the size of a typical living room. They told her that it's Crown (government) land.

As a First Nations woman, she grew up on that land and doesn't understand why she can't still live there. Neither do I.

What's even more amazing about Darlene is that she helped build a cabin for another homeless person before she built her own. The homeless elder she helped had been living in a chicken coop when she got frostbite on her toes.

Maybe the government should put their focus on the First Nations housing crisis — or at least not prevent Darlene from finding solutions.

Before you're too hard on the government, they did offer a suggestion.

They told Darlene she could "buy" the land. You know, with all that extra money she has. (I hope politicians get sarcasm.)

The word is spreading, and many people are seeing Darlene as a hero. Her supporters have written the Ontario premier, asking her to visit Darlene.

Maybe Premier Kathleen Wynne should spend a week up there with her. I'm sure it would be eye-opening.

In Darlene's own words, "where do we fit in, in our own land? What [does the government] want us to do?" First Nations homelessness has reached epidemic proportions.

In the city closest to where Darlene lives, Thunder Bay, over half of the homeless people are aboriginal. In Yellowknife, Canada, First Nations make up 95% of the homeless.

Maybe the politicians will ponder that as they lay in their cozy beds tonight. People like Darlene could use their help. Give her options.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.