Cynthia, a single mother of two, first came to our Safe Harbour Resource Center exhausted and scared. The staff member who met her at the door didn’t know her yet, but he did know it was cold outside and that Cynthia was struggling. He told her a case manager would be available soon, and in the meantime asked if she would like one of our winter needs bags and a meal.
“He seemed to read my mind,” Cynthia told us months later as she reflected on that difficult time. “I thought, how did he know I needed that warm yellow hoodie that I still wear today? How did he know that I needed those thick socks, a scarf, hat, and gloves? God works through people, and God knew this was the light I was to walk toward.”
Cynthia and her children had been struggling with homelessness for over six months. The owner of their small apartment rental had decided to quickly sell the property earlier that year, leaving Cynthia and her family with nowhere to go. Cynthia had been unable to find an affordable option and they began living out of hotels. Just weeks later the Covid-19 crisis began, bringing new hardships. While living out of hotels, Cynthia was working full-time, and one of her two children was also working as much as they possibly could.
Unfortunately, the majority of their combined income was going towards the steep cost of hotel living and it was a continuous struggle. There were many days where they were unsure if they could pay for another night’s stay and didn’t know if they would have to sleep in their car. The stress of being homeless during a pandemic was severe, and all three began to struggle with mental health issues.
Thankfully, a manager at one of the hotels they were staying in directed Cynthia to The Light House, where Karen Williams, Director of Homelessness Prevention and Diversion was able to provide one-on-one case management.
“Karen sat there with me and listened to me,” remarked Cynthia. “At that point I had not been able to talk to anyone honestly about what my family was going through. As I was talking to her, I just started to cry. She was so kind and helped me think through what solutions we could focus on together.”
Karen later connected Cynthia with Kris McNally, who is in charge of the Rapid ReHousing program at The Light House, and together they were able to keep Cynthia and her family safe and soon successfully found them housing in an affordable apartment. In addition to being in a stable and permanent home, Cynthia and her children have also been able to receive vital basic needs items such as food, clothing, and toiletries from The Light House. As she continues to rebuild their lives, Cynthia knows that The Light House is still here for her family.