Her story is one of thousands. You’ll recognize the fear, anxiety, sadness, pain, excitement and a myriad of other emotions in her voice. Her experience is closer to home than you think.
My name is Josh and I’ve stayed at the YW’s emergency shelter for a few months now. Before I came here, I was living on the streets, struggling with addiction. The YW has been super helpful. They have helped me with my mental health, they’re connecting me with all of the services I need. They’re helping me find housing. It’s really hard to make ends meet. I’m grateful for the YW but it’s a shelter, not a home. My goal is to find a home. Never judge a book by its cover, tough times can happen to anybody.
It was homelessness and abuse. I came here with my two children about 20 years ago for emergency housing.
Q2: Can you tell me more about your experiences with the YWCA?
I have returned to the YW many times over the years. Whenever I was looking for support, whenever I was facing a loss of housing or abuse, the YW was my safe haven to return to. I have stayed at the emergency shelter in St. Catharines and at the one in Niagara Falls. Once, I even was in their transitional housing program for some time. But even when I didn’t need shelter, I always knew and appreciated that I could come to the YW for a meal or a shower when I desperately needed it. When my hot water wasn’t working, I was able to come in for a shower. You know, I like to smell good 🙂 I now have a unit through the YW’s Housing First supportive housing program. I have my own apartment and regular access to support from a case manager. She helps me to navigate systems, including income support, landlord/tenant issues, health and dental care, food security, etc.
Q3: What would you tell a friend about the YWCA?
It’s a good place to stay. You can get a bed, be fed and get a shower.