Gord Portman walks down the gravel path in Penticton’s Marina Way Beach Park towards the waterfront. It’s a hot, muggy day, and people dot the adjacent beach despite the wildfire smoke that has rolled in.
“When I was homeless for 17 years, this was one of my favourite spots,” says Gord, pointing to a large, flat rock at the water’s edge. “I slept on this rock for three years. I used to come here to mourn loved ones I had lost to drugs, and to hide from my community and family.”