Surplus tools find a home with Housing First participants

Surplus tools find a home with Housing First participants

· The Pulse

The Edmonton Tool Library has teamed up with Find Edmonton to equip people moving out of homelessness with a few items to help them turn a house into a home.

The tool library was founded in 2016 to allow people to borrow tools instead of buying them. It acquired a surplus of hand tools during the pandemic when its usual community engagement activities were restricted.

"We had Rubbermaid bins overflowing with screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers, and pliers," said board member Eve Poirier. "Nobody was looking for hand tools, it seems."

That gave the volunteers at the tool library an idea. "We were thinking about our vision, which is to provide low-cost access to tools," said Poirier. "We had these tools. How can we get them into the hands of people who might need them?"

Enter Find Edmonton, a social enterprise that started as "The Furniture Bank" in 2009. It gathers furniture that participants in Housing First can pick out at no cost. But someone who is starting from scratch could also use a screwdriver or pliers for minor repairs or a hammer to hang up a picture. That's what makes this collaboration exciting, said Janine Tremblay, marketing and donations coordinator with Find Edmonton.

"The community donates everything we get, and that goes out in these little packages," she said. "We're like, 'Here, here's all the art,' but we have no way to put it up, right?"

Now they do, thanks to the small tool packages that the tool library has put together.

The tool library accepts donations of cash and some kinds of tools. For the starter kits, it will take screwdrivers with the bits, pliers, tape measures, hammers, and other essential tools as long as they're in good condition.

Photo: Starter tool kits for Housing First clients furnishing their new homes through Find Edmonton. (Supplied)