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Moms and Housing

How Your Gifts Are Creating Housing Solutions for Women With Children

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Because of your gifts, Avian and her two children, Reilly and Kendall, found shelter at Mission Services’ Inasmuch House after losing their apartment. Instead of facing homelessness, Avian’s children enjoyed a summer full of play and discovery—like all kids deserve. Thank you.

Like many single moms in Hamilton, Avian lived with her children in a rental unit in the north end. Nothing glamorous, just a basement apartment in an older house that needed work—but she knew the area well and got along with her neighbours. When her two kids, Reilly and Kendall, finished school in June they started to make plans for the summer. But all of those plans were abruptly swept off of the table when her landlord gave her 30 days’ notice.

Her new landlord and his brother had just inherited the home and wanted to sell it to capitalize on rising house prices. It was simply business. “The problem is,” Avian explains, “you can’t find anything else. Certainly nothing I can afford.”

Despite her predicament, Avian comes across as an optimist. “You have to be in this situation,” she says. She started looking for another rental in the same neighbourhood, but she wasn’t prepared for what she found. “I was paying $875 for a whole floor, utilities included. Now the places I visited were charging $1,500 and didn’t include utilities. What happened?”

“I was paying $875 for a whole floor, utilities included. Now the places I visited were charging $1,500 and didn’t include utilities. What happened?”

The more Avian looked, the more she saw other women in the same situation: “Women are losing their housing and trying to get into a shelter, but no one can find affordable housing. It’s jammed up. Nothing is moving.” She continues: “Sometimes it doesn’t feel like helping women who are homeless is a priority.” Avian ended up staying at a motel downtown until the staff at Inasmuch House called her to say a room had opened up.

 

“The people here are incredible. They’re very supportive,” Avian says while sitting in an office at Mission Services of Hamilton’s Inasmuch House, a shelter for women and children who are abused and, when rooms open up, for women and children who are homeless.

“It’s been wonderful to establish a bit of a routine again,” Avian says, “especially for the kids.”

In July, she saw a poster for the Mission’s summer camp and told the staff that her children would love to get out and play with other kids. “They never missed a day of camp and had a blast! They went swimming, made crafts, ate healthy lunches, and even went to see the planetarium at McMaster. Now, Kendall wants to go to teacher’s college and become a teacher. They’ve had so much fun this summer with all of the activities it’s hard to believe they lost their home.”

 

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When it feels like you’ve lost everything, it’s nice to know there is a place right here to help you start over.”

As for their mom, Avian plans to continue looking for an affordable apartment with the help of Inasmuch House’s transitional housing worker. “She is wonderful and makes the process much more efficient,” says Avian. “I’m fortunate to have first and last month’s rent saved up, so it’s just a matter of time—I hope.”

She adds: “I’d like to thank everyone who donates to this shelter and others. This summer has been tough, but this place has meant so much to us. When it feels like you’ve lost everything, it’s nice to know there is a place right here to help you start over.”

 

3 Things You Can Do to Improve Housing for Families Like Avian’s

  1. Talk to your elected representatives at all levels of government, your City Councillors, M.P.P.s and M.P.s about building and maintaining a supply of safe, affordable housing options.
  2. Start a buzz about safe and affordable housing by talking to your friends and neighbours about the importance of building a city that is liveable for all Hamilton residents, especially those in vulnerable situations.
  3. Give and offer your support to community organizations like Mission Services that provide services and help to women and families struggling with housing instability and homelessness.