Tom is a 65 year old man in our community who has experienced homelessness intermittently for decades. He has struggled with many health issues, including a fentanyl addiction. After spending time in an Emergency Overnight shelter, Tom received support from shelter staff, a social worker and a nurse, which are supported by United Way. Through these folks, Tom was linked to health supports and slowly began to stabilize and make health plans for his medical and addiction issues. Through the advocacy of those supporting him, Tom was able to move in to a seniors’ housing unit in the county. As Tom had experienced homelessness for decades, his community of supporters worked with him to support him in remaining housed. Tom has now been in his home for over a year and has built his own community of friends within his housing complex. He has also reconnected with his sister and his daughter and is working to rebuild social and family connections.
When a person with health issues is experiencing homelessness, their health can deteriorate and any health issues can become exacerbated. When that person has a safe and permanent home, they can focus on their health and well being. We believe that every person in every community deserves the opportunities, access, and connections they need to build a good life — regardless of their income, the neighbourhood they live in, or their social identity. When people have a home and are financially stable, they aren’t worried about their next meal and how they’re going to pay their rent. They can focus on their health, building a community around themselves and enjoying life.