Street Health relies on, and remains grateful to, all of our donors and supporters. Some learn about us through friends or colleagues, some through newspapers or social media. Some are motivated by their faith, by their families, or by a loved-one who has passed away. Whether donors give once a year, once a month or prefer to remain anonymous – their support creates options and choices for real people who are struggling with homelessness. In 2015/16 these donors helped Street Health support 55,672 client visits.
For us, your support directly translates into a continuum of care. We begin by addressing a client’s most immediate needs, with compassion and without judgement. From there, we work to build trusting relationships, supporting clients to meet goals that they’ve set for themselves. It is rewarding to see clients move forward and into empowered, self-directed choices. Sometimes this process comes full circle: a client comes to us and receives support, then goes on to help others. One such client, whose story we would like to share to cap off this series, is Sammy*.
“There have been many times in my life when everything I did was ruled by my addiction. I was often just a few steps away from being homeless. I was overwhelmingly tired and constantly hungry because nothing mattered as much as the drugs. I didn’t like the person I was, but I didn’t see any way to change my life. That is…until I found Street Health. My very first contact was a referral to a drop-in that provided a weekly meal. This drop-in also offered the support of a Street Health Community Mental Health worker who shared information on harm reduction and treated everyone with respect. She saw something in me back then that even I couldn’t see in myself, and she referred me to a Peer Worker training program at Street Health. Looking back, I can see that this initial contact was the start of being able to raise my self-confidence.”
“As I continued to come to Street Health, I received healthcare and completed the CUP Program, a program which educates and supports those with drug addictions. From that experience, I gained information and began to have the strength to continue forward. Street Health also assisted me when I was about to lose my housing which helped me gain more stability. This led to a work opportunity which was a real turning point for me. Before that, I could not have imagined I would ever be employable again, and that the experiences and skills I contribute are valuable and can help others.
“A few years ago I attended college and that has brought me to where I am now – working as a Relief Support Worker in the same neighbourhood as Street Health. I have been able to build my life thanks to a handful of people at a small, but important organization called Street Health. They helped me realize that I’m not defined by the trap of addiction. Street Health was there to treat me without stigma, to realize I’m an individual with potential and dreams.”
We thank all of our donors for supporting us so we can be here for people like Sammy. Your donations are turned into warm clothes and personal hygiene supplies, health care, harm reduction, mental health support, trusting relationships and changed lives. Not every client’s story turns out as well as Sammy’s but we work hard every day, believing that they can.
*Client’s name has been changed to maintain his privacy.