I don’t know what I would have done without the help of the Community Outreach Support Program at Bethlehem Housing and Support Services. It saved my life, and my son’s.
A few years ago, I decided to move to London Ontario. My family lived in a housing complex, that unknown to us, was one of the worst in the area. During this time, my son Thomas began developing fits of anxiety and fear. My daughters both moved away and Thomas and I were left alone to deal with the horrible environment and his escalating behavioral issues. I didn’t know how to help him, and I was devastated and scared because I couldn't reach Thomas by talking to him. I made the decision to move back to the Niagara region to connect with family members.
The financial support I received from the Ontario Disability Support Program only partially assisted me with the move, and I had to sell many of our things in order to hire a mover. When we arrived in Niagara we were homeless. Our belongings went into storage and we lived in a motel with a kitchenette for six weeks. I didn’t have a car or a place to call home and I was desperately trying to help Thomas deal with his feelings and anxiety.
The family I had connected with told me about Bethlehem’s permanent affordable housing buildings, and I sent in my application right away. During the wait time between the motel and securing an apartment, I spoke several times with a Bethlehem Community Support Worker because I could not cope alone. Even before I moved in, they were helping us.
I was thrilled when we got the call that Bethlehem Housing had an apartment ready for us. It wasn't until after the move that my Community Support Worker had a better understanding of what Thomas needed and recommended services to assist me.
Without my Community Support Worker’s help in providing me the contacts and information on who to go to for help, Thomas and I would still be struggling. I thought I was being strong for my son but didn't realize what a wreck I was myself because of the stress. There were several times I ended up in my Support Worker’s office to look for support or just someone to talk to.
My Community Support Worker gave me encouragement and without their service, I am sure Thomas would no longer be with me. I was supported while trying to support Thomas.
Today, we are doing much better. My Support Worker’s door is always open for me to come in and talk. I know that I am only one story out of a whole building full of stories. I know that the services provided by the Community Support Worker are used regularly. I wonder at times how they get any of their work done as their door is always open to someone in need! I am so grateful for this service offered, and I know in my heart that Thomas and I would still be trying to open these doors to get help if these things were not available in the building for us.
Thank you Bethlehem Housing for having these services available for us!
Your support is essential in helping Bethlehem to serve and support an even greater number of families and individuals like Nora and Thomas.