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Woodwynn Farms exec tries out homelessness

Creating Homefulness Society executive director trades places with homeless man

Richard Leblanc is putting his convictions about homelessness to the test as he tries it out for… well, as long as it takes.

Leblanc is the founder of the Creating Homefulness Society Woodwynn Farms.

Starting Tuesday evening, he traded places with “Ed,” a Victoria homeless man. Leblanc will be living in Ed’s van, while Ed lives in a home on Leblanc’s farm.

Leblanc says his first night was “very cold,” but undisturbed by any bylaw authorities.

“Ed’s coaching me on how to be stealth,” he said.

Looking ahead, Leblanc said he has trepidations about how long he’ll be living this way.

“I’ve worked with close to 500 homeless people and I see the wear and tear on them,” he said.

Leblanc intends to continue his trade with Ed until he meets his fundraising and advocacy goals: he’s hoping to inspire 2,012 people to donate 99 cents per day to his society, and 2,012 people to write letters of support to Central Saanich’s mayor and council.

Woodwynn Farms Therapeutic Community is a rural, residential recovery program for marginalized people who want to change their lives. It suspended operations in July 2011, due in part to a rezoning application before the Central Saanich council.

Stay tuned. Victoria News will explore how the pair are adjusting to their new digs.