Mark Brand, chef and founder of A Better Life Foundation, calls his childhood in Halifax “troubled.” He spent many nights on the street, while other nights he resorted to couch surfing. His experience was formative, and he’s dedicated his entire adult life to combating the stigma, and the barriers to a stable life, that homeless people face.
“I know what it’s like to not have a place,” Brand tells me on the phone from New York. “I know what it’s like to not have somebody to turn to, or be in fear of what to do next. That is the slippery slope that gets people feeling frantic. A Better Life was founded because the most critical part of your decision making process is nourishment. If you haven’t eaten you can’t be expected to make positive decisions.”