Stories of Hope

2015-11-27-16-01avenue-living“As with any business, making solid decisions that result in revenue and portfolio growth is vital.  But just as important is making the decision to give back to our communities.

Our Affordable Housing Team has had the pleasure of partnering with Homeward Trust through several unique avenues, each being profitable but also an exciting opportunity to make a difference in the life of people who deserve a home and a chance to improve their lifestyle.

The Homeward Trust teams are passionate, hard-working people dedicated to making a positive difference in the life of every individual they work with, ultimately significantly contributing to ending homelessness in Edmonton.

We are proud of the cooperation, communication, and commitment to us as a landlord and to our shared clientele.  Our partnership is the basis for each affordable housing program we designed in the fourteen cities we operate in. What a great example!”

Nicole Ziemann, Senior Director – Sales & Revenue Management, Avenue Living

His home was about to be converted to a 24 hour care facility, leaving Jerry with no place to go. After having his left leg amputated in 2007, he wasn’t able to work—his career had been in the hotel industry. Now facing eviction, he was running out of options.

“When you don’t have a roof over your head, it’s difficult to find one. It’s hard to find affordable housing.”

Before he was evicted, Jerry’s friend connected him with the Edmonton Inner City Housing Society (EICHS). Heather Goyea helped him find a home at Harry Holt Place, a new development that opened in November 2010, providing affordable, modest-sized units a block away from Alberta Avenue.

“This is a nice place. It’s secure, it’s a nice neighbourhood, everything you need is within walking distance.”

Jerry’s quality of life has improved. He enjoys getting out in his new neighbourhood, being able to walk to amenities. Heather commented how hard he is to get a hold of because he’s always doing something.

Edmonton’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness called for more modest-sized units, to respond to the needs of people like Jerry. EICHS and other housing organizations are helping people like Jerry find stability and build better lives.

2011-08-14-17-51staceyBorn and raised in Edmonton, Stacey has a daughter in law school, and a 12 year old son who he says “wants to be Wayne Gretzky”. Stacey has had a successful career in the culinary industry (which he learned from his mom), then partnered with his older brother in a dry walling business. Stacey has also spent several years homeless, but he’s in permanent housing now.

“I just lost it. I didn’t care about anything.”

Stacey had struggled with his drinking in the past, but was sober for a number of years. Then on February 21, 2005 his mom suddenly passed away. Shortly after that, his dad passed away. Then, after a battle with cancer, his brother Randall, with whom he co-owned the dry walling business, passed away as well. He says he “went right down the tank, I didn’t know where to turn”. He lost his job, and ended up on the streets. He lived in bushes and tents in the river valley, and would pick bottles to buy beer and food.

“I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Finally, Stacey decided he wanted his old life back. He had been coming to the Mosaic Centre, a drop-in centre on Fort Road, for many years. He had developed relationships with the staff. The Mosaic Centre is one of the organizations that participates in Homeward Trust’s Winter Emergency Response program, offering extended drop-in hours and services during the winter months.

Stacey went to AADAC, then the Gunn Centre, before moving into permanent housing with the support of the Boyle Street Community Services housing team.“Here I am, off the streets. I got myself a beautiful place”.

He still sees his old friends, and stays connected to the Mosaic Centre. He likes their programs, and on the day we visited him, he was planning to help plant the community garden. In his own neighbourhood, he also looks after a garden, and helps keep the neighbourhood clean. He has reconnected with his family, and enjoys watching hockey in the comfort of his own home. He gives much credit to the support of the staff at Mosaic, a testament to the services they—and other agencies—provide in the community.

2011-08-14-17-54bradyImmigration Hall was awarded the 2010 ROOPH Award for ‘Excellence in Building Design’. A historic welcoming place for newcomers, Immigration Hall was empty and had fallen into disrepair before being brought back to life through a stunning renovation that incorporates a handicap lift, a green roof terrace and provides tenants with security and basic amenities.

Brady, 53, moved into Immigration Hall more than a year ago. He describes himself as being an “alcoholic for 40 years.” Once a purchasing agent in the oil and gas industry, Brady had fallen on hard times, and found himself on the streets.

“I lost everything. I lost my family, my friends, my jobs, my soul.”

After trying different treatment programs, Brady found himself at Hope Mission. The year-long Breakout Recovery program appealed to him. Brady graduated from the program, and is now taking the next steps to getting his life back.

“Without the program, I don’t know where I’d be.”

Settled in to his new life, Brady is giving back to his community. Today, he works at Hope Mission. He splits his time between working at the Herb Jamiesen Centre and providing support for people in the Breakout Recovery program. Brady is constantly learning, exploring new opportunities and helping others do the same.

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Homeward Trust Edmonton

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10242-105 Street
Edmonton, AB
T5J 3L5
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