Stories from the Shelter: Lawrence

With his permission, we want to take the time to share the story of Lawrence.

Lawrence describes himself as a senior who had fallen through the cracks of the system. Having experienced homelessness for over 6 years, he felt as if he had no real desire to move on and was content with the daily routine of shelter life. Eat, sleep, shower, leave at 8am and find his way back when the program opened again at 4pm.

Recently, Lawrence felt like he was ready to consider an exit strategy from the shelter.  Lawrence took the first step to sit with CONC’s Breaking Barrier’s Housing worker and discuss housing, life goals and employment goals. Due to the fact that he had lived in and out of shelters for so long, he lost hope in truly ever finding a place to call home. He worked with staff to fill out a housing application, while also searching for private housing.

In April 2020, a chance for housing in a senior building became available.  His fear of really moving on caused him to be a no show at the first viewing of the spot. Housing staff decided they had to take another approach, and invited him for a walk around his potentially new neighbourhood. They learned where the grocery store was, how quiet the area was, introduced him to a food bank, and showed him how to access other local resources. He was connected with a follow up worker at a nearby agency.  Even though he was hesitant at first because of the relationships he had built at CONC, and scared of the isolation that can come with moving out on your own, he took a leap of faith.

The next day after the viewing, he asked CONC Breaking Barriers Housing staff if they could call the Rapid Housing team to sign the lease. His apartment was fully furnished, and he received an iPad and grocery gift cards as a moving gift. His follow up worker also took him to get a cellphone.

Lawrence is happy to report that he has quietly and confidently transitioned into a place he now calls home.  He is doing great and we are happy we got a chance to help him turn the page into a new chapter in his life.

© Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre. Charity Registration Number: 898720651RR0001

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