The start-up cost for anyone moving into their first home is expensive. It can be a barrier for someone securing sustainable housing.
You may already know that Find, an initiative of Homeward Trust, provides essential furnishings free of charge to people moving out of homelessness through the Housing First program. Find also collaborates with local agencies to support their housing efforts. The Furniture Program, a service offered by Edmonton John Howard Society’s Family Violence Prevention Centre is one such partnership. Natasha is the Community Liaison Worker with that program. She shares the experience of her client “Mary” at Find:
“I picked up Mary and her three-year old daughter early Monday morning. They were in incredible spirits. Both mother and daughter chatted away during our commute to Find. Mary had previously told me at her intake appointment that they had very little furniture, having just left the shelter and secured a home for their fresh start. They had been spending their evenings sleeping on a crib mattress on the floor.
As we moved through the selection process with Mary, she was incredibly appreciative of every table, chair, shelf, lamp and her daughter warmed the hearts of many employees. That day, there were no dressers available, but Diane told her not to worry that they would find her one. Diane also found Mary some amazing pictures that would fit in with her design style. Mary was so moved by Diane’s consideration that she immediately hugged her while her daughter proceeded to hug and thank every employee within arm’s reach. As we returned to the vehicle and headed to Mary’s new home, her daughter clutched the new teddy bear that had just been given to her by Find staff.
The next day I met the Find delivery crew at Mary’s home. The townhouse was essentially empty, aside from numerous boxes filled with clothes and accessories. Mary told me about how kind the people at the shelter were and showed me the items donated to her and her daughter as they left. There was an abundance of clothes, boots, toys and various other items. She explained that the shelter did not have access to furniture which is why The Furniture Program was such a blessing to her. She and her daughter were elated as the crew brought in each item and put it in the room she requested. Diane had found Mary’s daughter a lovely pink dresser that had been recently donated to Find. Both mother and daughter were overjoyed as Mary outlined how she would decorate her little girl’s new bedroom.
As we completed the delivery, Mary said The Furniture Program and Find had given her a new start, providing her with the ability to make a home for her and her daughter. She mentioned these programs are what gives people the chance and strength to break away from bad situations and she would be forever grateful.
Everything about this program, every donation, every stakeholder, every participant, every client, makes it a remarkable resource for the community. My experience over the years has demonstrated to me how difficult it is for victims of family violence to break away from the cycle of abuse. Often, they are reliant on their partner financially and have young children to consider. Both components don’t even remotely define the extensive damage an abusive situation can do to the confidence, self-esteem, independence and ability to believe in a brighter future of someone entrenched in it.”
Between January and September 2017, Find provided and delivered furniture to 48 new homes for people in Edmonton John Howard Society’s Furniture Program who had to flee an abusive relationship. Your donations of preloved furniture and housewares either go directly to a person in need, or proceeds from those sales to the public are reinvested into the program. Find more about Find here.