The carpenter who built tiny homes for Toronto’s homeless

On his way to work on a construction site, Khaleel Seivwright surveyed the growing number of tents lining an intercity highway and in parks with increasing discomfort. How would these people survive Toronto’s damp, frigid winters, let alone the coronavirus, which had pushed so many out of overcrowded shelters?

Text: Catherine Porter ©️ 2021 The New York Times

Khaleel Seivwright

Khaleel Seivwright, a carpenter who has been ordered by courts to stop building shanties for the homeless, in Toronto, March 19, 2021. Seivwright's project hit a nerve — not just within the city bureaucracy, but with regular citizens concerned about homelessness. (Ian Willms/The New York Times

(Photograph:The New York Times)

Shanties for all

Some of the hundred or so shanties built by the activist Khaleel Seivwright, in Toronto, March 19, 2021. Seivwright's project hit a nerve — not just within the city bureaucracy, which has ordered him to stop — but with citizens concerned about homelessness. (Ian Willms/The New York Times)

(Photograph:The New York Times)

Thankful residents

A woman who gave only her first name, Samantha, in her tiny shelter in Toronto's Alezandra Park on March 19, 2021. She lives in one of the shelters built by the activist Khaleel Seivwright and his team of volunteers. (Ian Willms/The New York Times)

(Photograph:AFP)

Trespass and eviction notice

A trespass and eviction notice stapled to one of the hundred or so shanties built by the activist Khaleel Seivwright, in Toronto, March 19, 2021. (Ian Willms/The New York Times)
 

(Photograph:The New York Times)

People protest

 A rally supporting housing for the homeless, in Toronto, Sept. 23, 2020. March 19, 2021.  Khaleel Seivwright's initiative building wooden shanties for the homeless in parks has hit a nerve — not just within Toronto's bureaucracy, which ordered him to stop, but with regular citizens concerned about homelessness. (Ian Willms/The New York Times)

(Photograph:The New York Times)

Read in App