“I’m proud that I’m working on just improving myself. I’m proud that I’m talking to the right supports.”

Tanya, United Way program participant

‘I’m a person, I’ve got a name’

Homelessness can happen to anyone. I’m the perfect example. I worked full-time for years, had a house, had a marriage. Everything was fine – until it just wasn’t fine. I suffered a bit of an emotional breakdown and that’s what led me to homelessness.

Coming home to the YWCA’s housing stability program – where I had a safety net, my own room, privacy, food – that was a blessing. Everybody was welcoming. The staff are great. The girls that live here were instant friendships and instant supports as well.

Here, I’m a person, I’ve got a name. Everybody knows your story and they can tell when you’re having a bad day. I celebrated my birthday here and it was a terrible day. I found out, online, that my mom had died that day. I fell apart. And the girls were great. They brought joy to that day for me.

My next step, now that I’ve found a part-time job, is to slowly, hopefully, try to save some money to be independent in my own apartment once again. But I realize that’s not something that’s going to happen overnight either. That’s one thing that’s amazing about this place, too. I don’t feel pressured like, ‘you have 60 days to find a job and get the heck out.’ I know they don’t want you to live here forever – they want to see us all succeed on our own – but we have that time.

I’ve definitely seen personal growth for me, so that’s probably the best thing I’ve gotten out of here thus far. I’m proud that I’m working on just improving myself. I’m proud that I’m talking to the right supports. I’m proud that I have gotten myself together enough to get a job, a good job. I’m proud of the relationships I’ve made. I’m proud of the strength I didn’t know I had.



YWCA – St. Thomas-Elgin Supportive Housing for Adults is one of more than 50 local programs and services supported by United Way Elgin Middlesex, the region’s largest non-government funder of social services.

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

Tanya, United Way program participant at the YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin speaking with her support worker Michelle

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