Oak Tree 7

We need to talk about homelessness.

The pandemic has highlighted a lot of system weaknesses. The biggest challenge that our eyes have been opened to is homelessness. It has been an issue that has come up in each of our past 6 Oak Tree Projects but is something we have not directly focused on. Since March 2020, however, as community leaders, downtown Guelph business owners, and just two guys living through a global pandemic, homelessness has become a very personal and emotional conversation.

Knowing that we didn’t understand the full complexity of the issue, we have spent the past year connecting with community leaders who are making incredible strides in solving homelessness in Guelph and Wellington County. We have been listening to their stories, challenging our own perceptions and unlearning some of the things we thought we knew. Our big takeaway? Homelessness is about individuals, not numbers.

Learning about homelessness has been a profound experience for us and in preparing for Oak Tree 7 we knew that this issue had to be our focus. That is why we are changing our usual Oak Tree format and putting time and effort into leading a community conversation about homelessness. We invite all of Guelph and Wellington into a dialogue that is far more hopeful and solution-focused than we could have imagined.

Thank you for joining our learning journey. After watching our 5 videos we hope you will agree that together, we can solve homelessness.

Mike Hyrn and Will Mactaggart

Oaktree 7 Introduction

Will Mactaggart from The Oak Tree Project and Dominica McPherson from the Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination.


Julie Porter from the Welcoming Streets Initiative run by the Guelph Community Health Centre and Stephanie Pellizzari from Knar Jewellery, a downtown retailer.

More and…

Derrick Rutherford from Valentini Hair Design and Kristen Cairney from Wyndham House.

Getting Involved

Sheila Markle from Kindle Communities, Kim Richer a Kindle community member and Jason Ashdown from The Skyline Group of companies.

Finding Solutions

Community members Margo, Joe and Gail Hoekstra from Stepping Stone.