Stories from the Shelter: Aidyn

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

As a new refugee to Canada, Aidyn was first sent to seek shelter in one of Toronto’s spaces in the Out of the Cold respite program (OOTC). As spots are limited and given out daily, he wasn’t guaranteed a bed every evening. Aidyn saw this as a chance to start a new chapter in his life, so he made sure to be back at the OOTC program every evening when the doors opened to take the first 10 people in for the evening, give them a dinner and a cot to sleep on.

Through OOTC, Aidyn connected with staff to discuss his health concerns, which included being diagnosed with cancer.  He expressed his desire to be housed, so he could reconnect with his family and have visits again. A bed became open in the CONC shelter program and Aidyn was given the opportunity to be a new intake. He was excited at the chance, he had given staff all documentation from Sunnybrook Hospital in a timely manner, he began meeting with the Breaking Barriers Health & Wellness worker to put together a hygiene routine, asked staff to write instructions down for him so he could properly care for the medical materials he needed to use during his cancer treatment.

His doctors had given Aidyn a cancer diagnosis with a possibility of only 2 years of life left. He was afraid that his stay in a shelter during the pandemic would leave him vulnerable to infection.

Aidyn was quickly moved into CONC’s hotel program as soon as the pandemic began, to allow for proper social distancing. The Breaking Barriers team advocated to have a doctor and nurse visit him twice a week. The team escalated his housing search, putting his name on the Rapid Housing List. From April to June the city had offered units for him, but they were not suitable for the level of access he needed to doctors and resources due to his illness. Finally, at the end of June, a perfect spot was found.

The CONC staff team helped Aidyn transition from the shelter by making sure he moved into a furnished apartment, gave him a new Ipad to keep in touch with friends and family, gave him grocery gift cards, and helped to schedule doctors appointments, along with Personal Support Worker visits. Aidyn is happy to report that he has reconnected with his brother, who visits on weekends, has arranged for his daughter to visit this upcoming new year. He has also recently decided to been added on the Hello Fresh weekly meal delivery plan that arrives every Sunday for him –  free of cost, from a community charity.

Aidyn now keeps in touch with CONC on a weekly basis. Recently, he let us know that he is feeling healthier and happier now that he has somewhere to call home. Everyone at CONC wishes Aidyn the very best, and we are grateful to be able to help people like him.

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

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