“I guess you would say I was homeless. I just remember being lonely.”
Two years ago, Josh was kicked out by his Father and Step Mother. He was fighting with them and refused to make up. He stayed with his Mom for a month but she lives in a senior’s apartment, so he had to move on.
“For almost four months, I would go to a 24 hour Tim Horton’s and stay up all night. The Tim Horton’s staff left me alone and I always made sure I paid for something every night. I would play on my computer, watch Netflix and you tube videos. I would then crash at my Mom’s during the day and stay with her on the weekends.”
One night he fell asleep at Tim Horton’s and another customer nudged him, waking him up to alert him that his computer and iPod was about to be stolen. “I never fell asleep after that!”
He can’t remember how, but he was connected with an outreach worker and was referred to Wesley Youth Housing. “I was happy to come here – a place to sleep, a bed, four walls, a shower and roof,” Josh said. “I met new people, new friends. I was never alone and I felt at home again.”
At Wesley Youth Housing, Josh has participated in life skill workshops in cooking, cleaning and budgeting, but his favourite part is the cooking classes and playing cards with staff or other youth.
Josh has also started to reconnect with his Father and Step Mother.
“I’ve brought them coffee and I see them one to two times a week,” he said. “I brought them supper one time – sausage for the grill and canned potatoes.”
Josh’s also been connected to Wesley Employment Services, which has helped him find several short-term jobs. His next goal is getting a new job and finding his own apartment this fall or winter, with Wesley’s ongoing support and advocacy.
Wesley Youth Housing is one of seven programs Wesley offers to isolated youth struggling with homelessness, poverty, mental health, addictions and a lack of support.
It is only with your help that our outreach workers were able to connect with 578 disconnected youth and make 765 community referrals in the last year.