Humans of United Way – Tanya’s story

“I moved to London in 2016 and we couldn’t find a place to rent. It was hard, really hard. I was homeless for two years and lived in shelters. After a while, I put most of my important stuff in a locker so I didn’t have to carry a bunch of stuff when I went to see landlords. Then I talked to people at London Cares and they helped with bus tickets to go to viewings and coached me for interviews with landlords. They helped me find a clean and affordable apartment and I love it.

“When I found a home, I was able to start looking for a job. I had no experience and so my worker at London Cares was really helpful preparing me for a job. I did volunteer work at first, trying to build up my resume. In my job interview, they said, ‘Are you okay?’ and I told her, ‘It’s my first interview ever in my whole life,’ and she said, ‘You don’t have to be nervous, you’re okay.’ Then at 4 a.m., I checked my email and I got the job!

“London Cares still helps me when I need it. They help me with eyeglasses. They help me with the dentist. When I need someone to talk to, I can talk to them about anything.  It feels great to have someone have my back.

“So now I have a job and a home and I love it. It’s important to have a home because a home is having your own safe place. I can hang out with my brother and we can have guests here. His friends come over, my friends come over and we make dinner together. I have a better home than before. I can have my cat at my apartment – I rescued her at my old place because she was really skinny – so she has a better home, too.”

United Way Elgin Middlesex supports 41 local agencies that reduce and prevent poverty, address basic needs, and provide housing stability and homelessness prevention.

If you or someone you know is looking for housing supports in your area, contact @211Ontario to be connected with local resources that can help.

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