In our most recent post in our series on poverty and homelessness we asked people to consider sharing a story about their experiences. Sharing these stories serves as a reminder that poverty and homelessness are not a choice. It’s important for us to end the stigma and stereotypes that are too often associated with these issues. Those who are homeless, just as those who are housed, should not be defined by where they live. Each of us has followed a different path from the past to the present. Yet some of our paths have been rockier than others.
This week we are pleased to offer the second these stories. We are grateful to The Cridge Centre for the Family for providing it to us. The Cridge Centre for the Family has been providing brain injury services for almost 25 years with a commitment to providing supportive housing for survivors of brain injury in Greater Victoria.
Recent studies have offered insight into a possible connection between brain injuries and homelessness, with 53% of the Toronto homeless population found to be living with a traumatic brain injury. The following is an impact story about how the Cridge services have helped a local man overcome the challenges of living with a brain injury.
Surviving a Brain Injury May Be Challenging but There is Hope
DF is 47 year-old male living with a brain injury. He was incarcerated on and off for a total of 14 years. DF’s life has been fraught with addiction issues and his crimes were in support of those addictions. His life was not easy and he makes no excuses for his past; however, he has remorse and regret. Every day he works a little bit harder to make amends and to do good in the community.
DF was homeless and living in a shelter for two years during his parole. In 2012, DF was accepted into Mary Cridge Manor (MCM). MCM is a program within the Brain Injury Services of the Cridge Centre for the Family. It is a housing program where clients live independently with supports. Although nervous, DF was excited for the opportunity to live in an apartment. He had not had a home in five years when he came to live at MCM. When DF moved in, he was so proud of his apartment and how it looked that he didn’t want to go out. He found great pleasure in staying home and knowing that he was safe and in an environment where he could finally thrive.
DF is completing his third year at MCM, which is the maximum time a person can be in the program. During this time, DF committed to developing life skills, interpersonal skills, leisure planning, vocation and addressing his addiction issues. It has not been an easy road but he certainly has tackled each step with courage and determination.
DF felt little hope until moving into this program. Not only is he preparing to move from MCM, he has returned to school and recertified in first-aid and trained in maintenance so he can now seek meaningful employment. He is excited about his future for the first time in many years, and so are we!
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