You could not come up with a more dramatic example of the life-saving capacity of a good staff-client partnership than the one between Gord Rea and Nicole Williams.
Gord entered Fred Victor Transitional Housing in November 2012 and that’s where he met Housing Support Worker, Nicole. Transitional Housing has been operating out of the 145 Queen Street East site since the building was re-opened following the redesign and rebuild in 2011 -2012. Twenty people with complex, life-limiting addiction and mental health challenges live with intensive staff support for up to a year on the second floor of Housing.
Much of Gord’s time in Transitional Housing was highly precarious. His severe alcohol addiction had kidnapped his will and he was not able to mobilize his well-developed intelligence and sensitivity and make rational choices. Non-palatable alcohol fed his addiction. Nicole recalls the day she found him lying on the floor in his Transitional Housing unit barely responding. An ambulance was called but Nicole was not in the least optimistic he’d be back to Housing. This wasn’t the first crisis for Gord but it was the most severe witnessed by Transitional Housing staff. He’d seen the inside of an emergency department 10 times already that year.
However, Gord made a recovery. He will tell you that there will be no more relapses for him in his life story. He is studying at George Brown College in hope of becoming a Community Worker where his lived experience of addiction and homelessness will be of important public service.
Nicole collaborated with Gord to provide the necessary resolve, the routines and tools that supported him in bringing him back to himself. And Gord will now say without hesitation that he would not be alive today without members of his family, and Transitional Housing Program staff including Nicole.