LIVING IN A basement apartment with her two year old son, Alicia was behind on her rent. Afraid of the future, but not willing to give up, she made the decision to seek support from Rotholme Women’s & Family Shelter. It wasn’t an easy decision. And it wasn’t one she wanted to make. However, she realized that, as a parent, it was one she had to make.
Rotholme offers emergency shelter to families of all shapes and sizes. Walking through the doors for the first time, with a child in tow, takes a lot of courage. “When I got there I wasn’t happy,” says Alicia. “Within 24 hours, it was better though. I met some of the other moms. There were good people there. My son and I weren’t alone. We adjusted.”
Housing Stability workers help clients assess their needs for housing and next steps. “I met with Mary-Jo. I was angry and she knew it. She hit the nail on the head with my situation from the start.”
Mary-Jo (see more on page two) worked on priorities with Alicia: sorting out finances, catching up on rent owed, and finding subsidized housing. Fortunate timing meant that Alicia could move into a two-bedroom town house in just under three weeks.
Six months later, Alicia continues to work on creating a stable life as a single parent. With Mary-Jo’s help, she developed a file folder system to hold important documents to help pay bills on time and run a smooth household. She acknowledges a gain in confidence to venture outside of her home. This includes making trips to do grocery shopping, taking her son to the park, and learning her neighbourhood.
Alicia will continue to have weekly home visits with Mary-Jo for another year, and sees a clear benefit in doing so. “It’s been really helpful. Absolutely. I think without her coming to see me every week, this would have been super overwhelming…new everything. Iwould have been lost. I would have been right back where I was.”
Looking to the future, Alicia’s goals are to complete her GED (General Education Diploma) to earn an Ontario High School Equivalency Certificate, and then pursue a career related to animal care. She knows she has some work ahead of her, however she is quick to say that she is closer to getting there than she ever was before.