“Just come”. Those were the words Emily was relieved to hear when she called Rotholme Family Shelter (Rotholme). After suffering terrible abuse by her partner, she needed a safe harbour.
Arriving with her children at Rotholme, Emily met Michael, her caseworker. “He’s the nicest guy ever,” she says. “He worked with me so well”. Together, they searched for rental housing that was priced within her budget and offered controlled entry to help keep her family safe.
“I was very proactive. Anytime I could meet with Michael, he was always willing… He had a file that whenever I would apply for a place, he would photocopy it all. It had my ID, rental application, proof of income—everything. He made sure it was ready to go”.
During her search for housing, Emily was worried she might lose her job. Sometimes, her shifts conflicted with school hours so she wouldn’t be available to receive her children from the bus after school. Rather than leaving or losing her employment, Rotholme staff offered to help. “They would get the kids off the bus, give them a snack and then I’d be there right after,” Emily explains. “I was supported in every way that I could be”.
In August, Emily moved into her new home. “I’m very lucky but a lot of it is because of Michael. He was very encouraging… I owe him my life,” she declares. While happy to have a place of her own, the transition sparked anxiety as well.
“I never had a mom growing up. Losing my dad—I have one brother and one sister and it’s just us three now,” Emily says. Through trials and tribulations, she did not always have a parent to lean on or ask for guidance. Oftentimes, she would call Michael when she needed help with life’s struggles. “When leaving, I didn’t want to lose that,” she notes.
To her relief, Michael continues to stand by Emily. “They asked if I wanted continued support and I agreed to it,” she says. “I talk to him almost every weekday still”. When September came, Emily was concerned about securing the supplies her children would require for a new school year. Michael took note of her concern and found a way to help. “He showed up at my place with gift cards for groceries and for the mall to get shoes, and he brought school supplies. He made how stressful that situation can be, so much easier,” Emily says.
Rotholme has also been able to provide Emily with other tangle items like food boxes and bus tickets to help ease her transition out of emergency shelter. “That’s been helpful…It’s enough to keep reminding you that you are not alone”.
Today, Emily and her children are settled into their apartment. She has even begun new responsibilities in her workplace, extending her hours and income. “I talked to my supervisor and I got cross-trained in a couple of other departments,” explains Emily.
Thanks to her proactive efforts and the continued support of Rotholme, Emily is feeling hopeful for the future. “I’m so thankful. I want other people to know”.
Written by Amy Bumbacco, Communications & PR Coordinator