A chance. That’s what Stephanie was seeking six years ago when, single, pregnant with her second child, and unable to afford market rent, she applied for social housing.
“I was told it would take three to five years to land an apartment,” she remembers.
It wasn’t the answer the young mom was hoping for. Putting a safe and secure roof over her family’s head was her top priority and, she hoped, the first step toward turning their lives around.
That chance finally came about six months later in the form of a phone call from YW Kitchener-Waterloo. Stephanie and her two children were offered a three-bedroom apartment in YW supportive housing, designed especially for women and women-led families who have experienced persistent homelessness and require supports to live independently. The apartments have affordable rents and on-site supports that allow residents to maintain their housing and participate fully in the community.
Stephanie took every advantage of the opportunity she was given. She returned to school to study carpentry and then masonry, involved her children in the on-site play group, and participated in YW-funded trips to the zoo, aquarium, even the CN Tower—all things, she says, “I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own.”
In the last few years, while coping with a health concern and eventually major surgery, she also turned to the on-site food cupboard to supplement her grocery budget.
“Even though I’m not where I want to be in my life, I’m definitely further along. A huge stress has been lifted.” She credits it all to the opportunities made possible by the YW’s supportive housing program.
“So many women like me, we’re rarely given a chance. When you’re not working and not living in a safe place, everything snowballs.” Change just one piece of the picture, she says, and “it feels like there’s hope again.”
“It’s all about opportunity. That’s what the YW is giving me and my kids.”