A reflection of the Housing Supports offered through the YWCA. 

Struggling with generational poverty, abuse and addictions, at age 48 Lisa was referred to the YWCA St. Thomas Elgin by her continuing education teacher. Lisa was trying to make changes in an environment that was full of barriers and judgement.

“I felt like every day was a series of hoops to jump through with a brick wall on the other side. I worked hard to upgrade and attend classes when I could, but it was difficult with limited support and constant reminders each day that I was not worth it. My teacher helped me get connected with the YWCA and worked with the staff to set up a room for me at the Women’s Residence.

My case manager quickly got me connected with the continuing education program through the YWCA.  I tried and worked hard however I hit my rock bottom.

I was holding on to the secret of a lifetime of drug abuse.  First cocaine, and then for the last 26 years an addiction to Meth. I have used for so long; it was easy to hide. The opportunity to finally feel like I had value made it difficult for me to keep using.  I wanted a different life. I tried quitting on my own, started a cycle of withdrawal sickness and then using to get over being sick.  My case manager challenged me to open up. I trusted her and could no longer lie. There was no judgement. I was not ready to quit so my case manager worked with me on “harm reduction”, This led the way to my feeling that I could do it.  I started meetings and was feeling good.  I still kept it a secret.  With the support received from the YWCA I was able to see that the secret was eating at me.  My case manager worked with me to open up to my children and relieve the weight of hiding my secret for so long. My children were very supportive, and I was able to reconnect in a healthy way.  This gave me motivation to continue the path to a new life.

I tried to do too much and felt overwhelmed then fell hard and reached out to my case manager. She brought me to the detox centre in London.

Today, I am getting ready to go to a residential treatment centre.  I have been clean and have a strong relationship with family and friends. I have self worth and I am excited to see the adventures that lies ahead of me.

I am so grateful for the YWCA.  I would never have gotten to this point without the unconditional support, the safe space that allowed me the chance to fall without judgement and a helping hand to guide me.”

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