“It’s important to have a home because a home is having your own safe place.”

Tanya, United Way program participant

Finding home, growing hope

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 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.

Tanya, London Cares United Way program participant and her cat

A vacancy rate of 1.8% across the London and Middlesex region drives rent costs higher and makes it even harder to find decent, affordable housing if you’re an individual or family living in poverty.

Almost 6,000 households are currently on the wait list for affordable housing in our region.

A reason for hope

Across the region, people struggle in plain sight, their symptoms of poverty visible as they battle addiction, homelessness, isolation and mental health in parks, on street corners and in downtown building doorways. But those working hard to change that story say there is reason for hope.

Learn more about how we’re ReUnited.

Dakota HalfpennyTanya