|This is Rupa's Story!|
''In 2013, I was living in Toronto, had good friends, had earned a social work degree and found work. I was employed by the University of Toronto and then an international development agency. A downturn meant that my agency closed. It was abrupt, unexpected and left me in trouble.''
“I lost my apartment, my income and my dignity. I spent weeks looking for work. Friends let me couch surf but that could not go on. I had an injury and an expired health card, and no hope. The health care centre referred me to a shelter. All I had left were two suitcases and a crushed spirit. I kept telling everyone I was okay but I was not.
“The first, few days in the shelter were frightening. I realized how far I had fallen. But, the shelter introduced me to a Fred Victor Housing worker who heard my story and said “I will help you, you will never be on the streets again, I promise. Within three days she had found a place for me at the Fred Victor Women’s Transition to Housing and she took me there, securing me a room, food and support. I was so grateful when they told me I could stay there for a year and start fresh.”
“With counselling, the help of a case worker, and the friendship of other women who were staying there, I began to find my way back. I began volunteering and soon recovered my spirit and purpose. A support worker introduced me to a senior manager at Employment and Training Services who told me how he came from the street and turned his life around with Fred Victor’s help. It was then that I knew I could do it, too.
“I was encouraged to apply for a one-year, paid social service traineeship, a training program at one of Fred Victor’s own service locations. I applied, was interviewed and said, “Please pick me!” I started at the Concurrent Disorders Support Services in March, 2015. I learned to manage 44 partner organizations, client services and become knowledgeable in clinical issues. I loved working there and helping other people.
“A new, permanent position opened up at Fred Victor, so I applied and got the job. With a permanent job, references and a bank account, I was able to put down first and last month’s rent on an apartment and furnish it with help from the furniture bank.
“Sometimes I see women in the drop-in and I think, oh my god, I was once there. The women trust me because they know I’ve been there. I know how hard the journey is and I tell others not to give up. You can find your way back. Come to Fred Victor for help!”
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