A drop-in centre helped Mike find stable housing—and a community too.

Coming home

Mike lived his life on the streets, selling scraps to survive. Then a United Way drop-in centre helped him find a home.

“On the street, I became an easygoing, loveable guy. I walked everywhere with a shopping cart and collected scrap. But it got to a point where I was getting older and couldn’t walk around pushing carts. Plus, I was lonely—if you don’t have a place to go, you’re a lost soul.

That’s why, when a friend told me about a United Way drop-in centre, I decided to check it out.

My life is much better now. The staff helped me get sober and find an apartment. I’ve spent time on the streets in the winter and it’s hard—every day, you have to hunt to find somewhere warm and safe to spend the night. You get to a certain point in your life where you’ve got to be warm.

I don’t care who you are: Everyone deserves a chance to have a roof over their head. Now I have that. I even have a cat!

Coming to the drop-in centre has changed me. This place has become my community and my family. It has also helped me learn to cope with people who have their own problems and can be easily triggered. Now, others come to me when they want to talk about a problem. I’m helping people too.

My advice to others? Have compassion when you see people out there who have problems. Offer a few nice words instead of turning a blind eye. Who knows—by making somebody smile, maybe they’ll make somebody else smile. And if everybody starts smiling, life gets better.”

Together, more than ever.

“Everyone deserves to have a roof over their head.”


There’s an issue
Homelessness affects everything from employment to personal safety, mental health and access to healthy food. It’s difficult to fully participate your community, keep a job or go to school if you don’t have a safe place to sleep.

A 1.8 per cent vacancy rate across our region drives rent costs higher and makes it even harder for people and families living in poverty to find decent, affordable housing.

You can help
United Way supports a housing-first approach that quickly moves people experiencing homelessness in to independent and permanent housing with appropriate supports. We invest in programs that help people obtain and maintain a secure and stable long-term home.

Here’s how:

  • $52 allows 5 community palliative care clients to make social connections at St. Joseph’s Hospice
  • $365 provides an annual subsidized membership at Horton St Seniors Centre for a low-income senior
  • $1,200 provides 12 sessions of personal counselling for a person struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma or other challenges to their mental health
Dakota HalfpennyMike