I met Terra in Toronto, Canada. An outreach nurse who had been helping her connected us. Terra is a wonderful, gorgeous 25 year-old woman who has lived on the streets for 5 months. Terra tells […]


I met Terra in Toronto, Canada. An outreach nurse who had been helping her connected us. Terra is a wonderful, gorgeous 25 year-old woman who has lived on the streets for 5 months.

Terra tells a very real story about life on the streets. She doesn’t like shelters because she was beat up in one, so she sleeps on the streets or in parks.

I hope Terra’s story will stay in your heart and mind as it has with me. After this interview we took her to get some food. She is intelligent and funny, she just needs some extra love and compassion to change her life. The good news is the outreach nurse I was with is filled with that extra love and compassion, and will do everything she can to find Terra some help.

Please support all health and medical outreach services in your community.

Terra is a wonderful, gorgeous 25 year-old woman who has lived on the streets for 5 months. Click To Tweet

*** Terra Gardner was hit by a train and killed while still homeless


Special thanks to Anne Marie Batten

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  • Clemens-richard

    lovesandrespectsxoxo Terra. You are not alone sweatheart! Hang in there, it will get better!! Committe to End Homelessness in Victoria (unceded Lekwungen Territories. Songhees Nation) Shame on Canada!

  • Guest

    She’s so much more intelligent, insightful and articulate than she’ll ever know.

    I also find the story of how she hurt her hand oddly endearing. “I didn’t think it was funny.”

  • This is so sad. She deserves to be in college, not this.

  • So sad to hear about Terra’s tragic passing.

  • robert noonan

    rob native sober over twenty years,used to live on the streets of toronto. now living in ottawa ont working went back to school. now he is a counsellor. success is also a reality.

  • Pingback: Police not treating death of First Nations woman in Toronto as suspicious | APTN National News()

  • Stephanie Wesley


  • lily

    I live in BC, and there are a sadly a large amount of native peoples living on the street, specifically women. Aboriginal women are 7-9% more likely to be sexually abused and killed in violence than any other women. And yet stephen harper, despite his fauxpology to Native peoples and addressing the issue of stolen sisters, has yet to do anything, depute the UN repeatedly calling on Canada to do so.

  • artishia harris

    I am so moved by all the stories,but Terra’s story truly touched my heart in every kind of way. To know that she feels invisible is very heart breaking to hear because she is 25 years young and for her to feel like people don’t care about her is hard to hear. It makes me think now that when i pass by a homeless person an sit there and ignore them, when i don’t know their story is making me feel very low, but this is bring new light to my eyes because I don’t mean to sit an ignore homeless people, but when you don’t have the money yourself there is nothing you can do. i have always had a passion to open up my own homeless shelter for people that need a new start in life, but right now it is just a goal because being 18 years young you can only have faith that you can help people with having a shelter that really cares for the people. I can’t even believe terra was killed by a train because i would have loved to met her in my life time, but she will have a spot in my heart .

  • Miiskum Sutherland Stephens

    Terra was a friend of mine and I saw her 3 days before she was hit by that train. I still struggle with the thought that she was with native men the night she died, and was not protected or helped. Just left to die on the tracks like a piece of trash. I hope that they are ashamed of what they did to her that night, but I really don’t know. Such a sweet, caring young woman and this year, she would have turned 28. I cried on her birthday and if it wasn’t for a heat wave, I would have gone down to the tracks to sing and drum for her. MMIW NEEDS to be properly addressed by our government and legal system. This NEVER should have happened.

  • Eva Anderson
  • Nessa Rose

    Alcohol has become the drug of choice to deal with the anxieties of life whether homeless or not. The boredom experienced by those homeless is curbed by the use of alcohol. In my work providing medical care to homeless I am finding early cognitive impairments with the young homeless. alcohol coupled with methamphetamine, cannabis worsen the impairments. I love to see the transformations made once they are released from the shackles of addiction, the true creation is revealed. Every week I see the transformed lives, this is what compels me to continue to serve.

  • lRM

    homeless Granny
    A few years ago, oh no…it wasn’t a few. I guess it’s been four years.I had a good life,traveled, shopped at Macys, and other fine stores. I rode in a Mercedes atand had no money worries. My husband (life companion) of twenty years died.He eas much older than me but but I never felt the difference. We got along really well.Life with Charles had only one unpleasant side..He had five children who disliked me. Have no clue as to why. One day I asked of themWhy do you resent me?The reply was “because are always interperting everything we say to Dad.” I never thought I was causing ill feelings.Charles could not hear well and would put the phone on speaker and ask me to tell what was being said.I told him I felt uncomfortable listening to his conversations. He dismissed my concerns. I was always nice to his children and would run interference for any of his children when asked. I said nothing one Thanksgiving when Charles and I planned a nice quiet Thanksgiving meal.He had not been feeling well and he didn’t want to be around a lot of people.Thanksgiving morning we were having breakfast when the doorbell rang. I opened the door and his son-in-law walked in and told Charles that his wife (daughter) told him to go pick Charles up and bring him to their house for Thanksgiving. Charles graciously thanked him and explained that we already had plans. The son in law apologized and left.Charles and I made a trip to Cracker Barrell to pick up our take out Thanksgiving take-out meal. On the way Charles commented that he was so relieved to be having a quiet meal for a change without having to listen his children squabble.I kept quiet. We sat down to eat a little after 12:00 noon. We sat in the morning room which was our favorite room. It had windows on three sides with a wonderful view of the Monacy river. We had just begun our meal when the door bell rang and his daughter took her Dads’ coat off the coat rack and told him to go with him. He looked at me with saddness in his eyes and followed her to the door. I just stood there knowing that to speak up would make things most uncomfortable for Charles. My stomach was so upset then so I put tour meals in the fridge.I sat on our patio trying not to cry. I told myself that the next Thanksgiving Charles and I would spend it together. Well the following Thanksgiving came and His daughters wanted spend Thanksgiving in Bermuda. The day before Thanksgiving he flew all five children and several husbandsand several grandchildren to Bermuda for a week. Once again I was alone. We had made plans to go visit one of his daughters in Texas. We going to purchase or rent a Roadtrec RV and drive out there at our leisure. We were looking foward to the trip when his children protested and insisted he fly out. They made the airline reservation but did not bother to include me. He told me he would fly me out there in a couple of days. I was overjoyed. The taxi came to pick him and his grandson up to drive them to the BWI. As he looked out the window waving at me I had a feeling I would never see again.Well I did but it was at funeral home. He was in a casket. I still remember the feel of his hair as I stroked it and he did not respond. He had high blood preasure and the plane ride was not good for him. When the plane had laneded in Texas he stood up to deplane and fell over. He was such a proud man. He stood straight as an hour always,straight . He never wanted to be considered old. He was 86 and carried himsef as a thirty year old man. He had left me a cosiderable bit of money.He would not tell me how much and I felt it tacky to ask. He and his brother had been working on his will that week and was planning to complete it upon his return. Obviously he was not able to complete and sign th will.His brother , also a magnificent man with lifetime financial expeirencetalked to his nieces and tried to persuade them to follow their Dads intention and sign off on the will. All refused. My grief was so intense I could not think clearly. All I could do was cry. Came time for my beloved Charles funeral his children refused to allow me to attend. Had I been his legal wife they could not have kept me away. Ironicaly the morning of his trip to Texas he told me to book a cruise to any place I wanted go. We were going to get married on the ship. I had chosen Spain as our destination. Fate decided to send him on an alternate destination.
    Six months after Charles death my so loved daugher lost her five year battle with adrenal cancer. I was overwhelmedd. I decided to return to Florida where I thought I wold feel safe and secure surounded by family. That did not happen. I was living a fantacy. Through bad financiall judgements I lost everything. I needed help. I had no money, no place to go. All of relatives had homes with no children which left them spare bedrooms. I asked if I could rent from them. No, they didn’t have room. I slept in the car I still do. At 75 sleeping in the car is rough. Being a diabetic makes things worse. I need a home, I can afford some rent but not over $450.Hud housing has a two year waiting list. What to? What to do$ More to the story but I have run out of time. LRM

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