Homeless to heroic: Karl Pawlowicz and the road to normality (Tom’s Place)
By Angus Argyle | January 16, 2017

Karl outside Tom’s Place Photo: Angus Argyle, Loyalist College Journalism Student

BELLEVILLE – A year ago, Karl Pawlowicz, a 64-year-old from Ottawa, Ont. was homeless and living precariously out of his car.

Pawlowicz is now in the final stages of his transition back to society and is helping others in his position do the same.

Kicked out of his home by his spouse and suffering financial despair, Pawlowicz made his way to a relative in Belleville hoping to find work and a place to stay.

Karl has been living at Tom’s Place, a transition home in Belleville where people who’ve fallen on hard times have a place to call home. The house is run by the All-Together Housing corporation.

Pawlowicz is currently a faculty tenant living in the house. His duties include making sure everyone is getting along, following the rules and moving forward.

Bob Cottrell, the president of All-Together Housing explained how Pawlowicz is the real hero of the house;
“We would have had difficulty functioning this past year without people like Karl because they really are our eyes and ears,” he said.
“That’s a huge burden off our shoulders to know that the building is safe, To know that the guys are safe here too and that they’re moving on with their lives, that’s the most important part for us.”

“Life can turn on a dime,” said Pawlowicz as he described what it was like to suddenly lose everything.

For many of the men who stay at Tom’s place, life has happened, and it’s left them with little to nothing. This house allows them to have a room and place to call home.

Each person in the home agrees to follow a list of set rules and is expected to work towards leaving a year after their arrival. Rules include things like no drugs or alcohol and no physical violence of any kind.

Pawlowicz explained that the piece most people don’t always understand is that any fool can live with success.
“You don’t have to be a brain to live with success,” he said. Your brain is only put to the test when you’re facing failures.