Nadine Green

Udanapher Nadine Green learned to help the less fortunate while growing up in Jamaica, where her father worked with the homeless. Nadine and her family came to Canada when she was 16 years old, and settled in Cambridge, Ontario. She became homeless herself as a young adult, and persevered working various jobs during high school and beyond. 

In 2012 Nadine was fortunate to be able to open the Duke Corner Store in downtown Kitchener. One cold winter’s evening, she was closing her store and saw people experiencing homelessness huddled together across the street trying to stay warm. Nadine couldn’t leave them like that, so she opened her store and told them to come inside. Word spread and before long dozens of people were sheltering overnight in the convenience store acting as an unofficial shelter. 

In January 2020 Nadine was evicted from her store for behaving like a residence. While living at a friend’s place, she cooked and took meals to people who used to live at the store and were now living on the streets. The eviction occurred just at the start of the pandemic. Ron Doyle, a local entrepreneur, had stopped by the Duke Corner Store multiple times before its closure. Ron and Jeff Willmer (retired CAO of the City of Kitchener) approached Nadine about creating tent housing for people inside Ron’s unused Lot 42 event space.  They used the province’s State of Emergency order to their advantage to launch the plan, and with the city’s permission for 1 year, created “A Better Tent City” (ABTC). They cut through red tape to deliver help when needed, and inspired hope in the process. In May 2020, people began moving from indoor tents to their own Tiny homes outdoors. Community resources were activated, including Ron’s parish priest, Fr. Toby Collins.  

The Lot 42 event property was sold after Ron’s passing, and in June 2021 the City of Kitchener permitted ABTC to move to its snow dump property on Battler Road temporarily until winter. In October 2021 the City of Kitchener and Waterloo Region District School Board allowed ABTC to move to their land on Ardelt Avenue temporarily.

Today, Nadine lives and works at ABTC, along with about 50 residents. ABTC has moved unsheltered people from dangerous conditions on the streets into a more safe and supportive community. They have developed friendships and relationships. They have a home of their own, privacy and security. They are family. Many call Nadine Mom. Residents are valued, seen, heard, loved - their opinions matter. This lifestyle boosts self-image, and if they fall down, residents have support to get back up. Having a home gives a level of stability; if you have a place you can live, then it becomes easier to manage your way through the world.

Nadine has committed her life to helping people experiencing homelessness. Because of Nadine, 50 people have houses at ABTC, people have food delivered by Going Mobile KW, and people have hope. 

Nadine’s passion continues to shine the light on homelessness. She has been recognized for her work by: