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Homeless No More

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Austin has struggled to find housing across Canada, from Vancouver to Toronto.  At the Mission he found compassionate care and staff who helped him get into a seniors’ residence in less than 30 days so he can live independently again. His success is the result of gifts like yours. Thank you.

Austin didn’t always struggle with homelessness. For many years he worked as a roofer and, like many seasonal and migrant workers, he traveled across Canada following the construction jobs. This work was easier to find than jobs in his hometown of Corner Brook, Newfoundland, where his father and most of his family had long been fishermen and sailors.

Austin spent the late 80s and early 90s in B.C., especially Kamloops and Vancouver, where he took advantage of the mild climate and regular work. However, after a fall it became harder to find work, and the pain caused by his double jointed legs didn’t help either. Around that time he had his first experience of homelessness. He slept for a time on the streets and built a tent when he could find a secluded area.

Austin speaks in short sentences with lots of one word replies, but his sweetness and kindness comes through nonetheless. He never graduated high school and cannot read. That made the idea of retraining at his age daunting, especially given his housing situation. He didn’t have anywhere to live even if he went to school, and no way to pay for it either.

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Austin outside the Mission’s Emergency Shelter cafeteria where he enjoyed three hot, nutritious meals a day and a warm bed thanks to generous donors like you.

 

“Literacy is an area that can slip between the cracks,” says Shawn MacKeigan, Assistant Director at Mission Services’ Emergency Shelter. “It can be hard for people who struggle to talk about it, and by adulthood it can be easier to disguise since they’ve learned to live with it.”

I’m so glad the shelter was here for me and that they helped me find housing of my own… Thank you and God bless.

When his father became ill, Austin managed to return to Ontario where his father was then living, but sadly not in time to see him again before he passed away. In Toronto, Austin continued to look for odd jobs in construction, but they became fewer and fewer. He stayed at some shelters and ended up in subsidized living for seniors. There was a lot of conflict in his building as well as substance abuse and violence, so Austin asked a friend in Hamilton to help him find another place to live. That’s when he came to the Mission’s shelter for men on James Street North.

Here he found a safe, quite place to stay while he applied to the City’s Access to Housing program. Because he was homeless and a senior, Austin was given high priority and quickly accepted. All told, Austin will have spent less than 30 days at the men’s shelter.

“I’m so glad this shelter was here for me and that they helped me find housing of my own,” says Austin. “I thank all of the people who donate to it. Thank you and God bless.”

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