It’s been about seven months since I saw that poor woman sleeping on the floor of a bank in a small Vancouver Island community. I still think about her and hope she is in a better place now.
My family member spoke to her a couple of times since last July and what we know is that she suffers from mental illness and she finally received her PWD status around December. Even though she has a bit of an income now she said she still has no place to go, no place to rent. No place not only because of the cost of rentals but the local motels are getting away from renting monthly. She said “there is nothing that I haven’t already tried”. She has $375 for rent and utilities. Where on this entire Island will she find a rental for $375?
We tried connecting her with the Salvation Army but they were at capacity in her community and couldn’t take on any more people. They also said there is a shelter there but it is usually full. What does that say about our Island communities? There was mention that the community has been approved for some canister housing but we haven’t heard anymore on that.
How can anyone have hope of getting off the streets when the barriers are there to stop all efforts? I don’t think this lady takes drugs, at least she didn’t look like it, but she has to fight that stigma. I just can’t imagine what it must feel like to have been living on the streets this long. Having been homeless myself for a few short months I can understand the desperation but what would it feel like when you have been forgotten?
I hope we can connect with her one day and when we do I envision her having received help and she is living happy and healthy.