Haley’s Story

It snowed all weekend and it’s -8 and your thin winter jacket is barely keeping you warm. . You look at your dying phone, it’s just past midnight. Your friend’s party became a bust when an argument broke out and he asked everyone to leave. Parties on the weekend are usually good for you because you can crash, it gives you a place to stay.

This isn’t the first time since you’ve left home that you’ve you haven’t had a safe place to sleep, but it’s the coldest night so far. You thought you could make it through the winter couch surfing.

You don’t want to spend the night on the street, so you look for a shelter near you and find Eva’s Satellite. You’re worried that they will not let you stay there because you’ve had a bit to drink and you’re high.

When you arrive, the shelter is quiet. Most people are in their rooms already. You explain your situation to one of the staff. You’re relieved to hear they have room for you tonight and that they won’t make you leave because you’re high.

The staff leads you up to your room where you take off your jacket, plug in your phone and slide the backpack with all your belongings under the bed. Eventually you drift off to sleep, relieved of the constant worry of where you’ll stay for the night.

Eva’s Satellite

Eva’s is there for young people who are experiencing mental health and addiction issues. Eva’s Satellite was the first Harm Reduction facility for youth in Canada. It opened as an emergency shelter in the winter of 1997 to help young people just like Haley. It never closed.
At the time, it was common practice to turn young people away if they were inebriated. At Eva’s we believe that young people deserve access to safety and support while they are struggling with addiction and mental health issues. At Eva’s Satellite, they can begin the journey from chaos to stability.
Will you support young people just like Haley, looking for a place to go in the middle of the night, by choosing Eva’s this Giving Tuesday?

Pictured above: Eva’s Satellite serving counter outside the kitchen (top), Eva’s Satellite kitchen (left), Example of nutritious meal (right).

After almost spending the night on the street, you found Eva’s Satellite. Many of the young people at the shelter are on their way out for the day, some to work, others to interview, other for errands.

You make your way to the dining area, grab breakfast. A glimpse of food makes you realize how hungry you are. You’ve been living off of snacks and meals from your friends. What little money you have you spend on fast food (which is all you can afford). You could get used to a reliable morning meal. You glance around, see people with textbooks doing homework, some are chatting, and some are keeping to themselves.

Somehow, despite being kicked out of your house, you didn’t think you’d wind up here.

Maybe this week you can spend your food money on transit and make it to school. School is something you enjoy but you’re on the verge of suspension due to absences. They have no idea you haven’t had a place to live for over a month.

This whole shelter thing isn’t ideal…but maybe it can help you get your life back on track.


Food is an important part of getting back on track.

Young people need daily nourishment to develop, be healthy and well, and have energy to thrive. We want to ensure they get fresh, whole foods such as produce, meat, chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, and dairy. Residents at Eva’s emergency shelter get three nutritious meals and two snacks a day.

Will you support young people just like Haley, looking for a safe place to go and the meals they need to get them through the day by choosing Eva’s this Giving Tuesday?

Pictured above: Eva’s Satellite intake office.

Somehow, despite being kicked out of your house over a month ago you didn’t think you’d wind up in a shelter. When you almost didn’t have a place to go last night in the newly fallen snow and -8 temperature, it was a relief to find Eva’s Satellite.

After having a safe place to sleep, and a meal you meet with a social worker at Eva’s. They are positive and understanding and want to know what YOUR goals are. They are empathetic to the mental health and addiction issues you’ve been having where most have been judgmental and punitive. You’ve been wanting to stop using substance or at least slow down, but it’s been hard. Especially when the party scene is your usual safety net on the weekends for a place to stay. Especially when it seems to be the only thing that can help you keep on going after everything that happened at home and what you’ve been through since.

The staff tells you about the Satellite Peer Outreach Training (SPOT) Program, a boxing class at the end of the week as well as some sort of recreational outing to an ice rink. There are also support programs for school that could help you catch up before exams. You get some bus tokens to get you to and from school for the week.

You’ve been hiding that you’re homeless from so many people in your life. It’s uncomfortable to be here, to be seen by this social worker but you’re feeling a little glimmer of hope underneath all that.

Harm Reduction

At Eva’s, we work individually with each young person to understand what they want to achieve while they are with us. At Eva’s Satellite, this includes a harm reduction approach and programs for those struggling with additional and mental health services. Since the opening of Eva’s Satellite, more youth shelters have adopted a Harm Reduction framework.

Harm reduction is an effective health-oriented response. Choice, non-judgement, and non-coercion are its essential features in addition to pragmatism, humane values, and a focus on the harms. (CHRN, 2018)

Harm reduction is practical and effective, that’s why we work from a harm reduction approach at Eva’s. It allows us to support young people struggling with addictions and substance use that causes them difficulties by meeting them where they are at and providing them with opportunities to move from chaos to stability.

Will you support young people like Haley who need effective, non-judgmental support to move from chaos to stability by choosing Eva’s this Giving Tuesday?

Pictured above: Eva’s Satellite staff and harm reduction health clinic (top), Eva’s Satellite gym where the boxing program and other recreational activities happen (left), and overdose preventing Naloxone Kit (right).

You had been doing so well… Getting ready for exams. Going to interviews for jobs. You’ve been participating in the Satellite Peer Outreach Training (SPOT) Program and taking advantage of the health clinic on Thursdays. Your friends have shared their own experiences with homelessness and addiction with you, supported you on your journey to sobriety and taught you about how to be safe so you won’t get sick along the way.

You even having FUN in that boxing program.

But along came a bad day… a really bad day and a friend offered you a free ‘pick-me-up’ and now you can tell there is something in it that you didn’t expect. You feel weird, off. Something is wrong. You’re scared to tell anyone. What if you get arrested or expelled or let everyone who has supported you down?

Just last week, the staff prevented an overdose. Your friend almost died alone in a bathroom (which is not uncommon); you don’t want that to be you. You’re scared.

You find a buddy from the SPOT program, not being alone is part of what they taught you. They sit with you, ask a few questions about what’s going on and tell you about the times they have slipped up. All that matters is that you can get back on track when all this is over and that you did the right thing by finding them. They’re holding a naloxone kit just in case you have an overdose.

It’s hard to take it all in right now. Your Dad’s words are echoing in your head, “There are no second chances”

You hope beyond hope that there are…

Second Chances

Many people can relate to being young and care-free and remember taking risks that they never would as an adult. For those of us that had support systems that could pull us back, catch us when we fall, and give us another chance, we didn’t have to pay for those mistakes for the rest of their lives. Or worse, with our lives.

Young people who are experiencing homelessness, mental health issues and addiction often don’t have the same supports. One misstep can change their lives forever or even be fatal. This is what makes Harm Reduction work so critical. As young people are on the journey from chaos to stability, they can be given the tools they need to stay safe and stay alive while they build a brighter future for themselves.

Will you support young people like Haley who need a second chance on their journey chaos to stability by choosing Eva’s this Giving Tuesday?


With your support, Haley has options now that she is at Eva’s. So, you decide what future you would like for Haley (be sure to tell us by replying to the email or sharing on social media and tagging us @evasinitiatives).

Choose a brighter future for Haley…
There is no way you will be able to afford living in the community with your part-time job so you apply to live at Eva’s Phoenix, transitional housing for youth.

While you’re there, you take part in the Youth Succeeding in Employment program. There you learn that you’re really passionate about Interior Design. That spark is what begins to really motivate you. Through the program you get an internship at a Design Firm. The internship is paid, which helps you get into post-secondary. You discover you have an entrepreneurial spirit and dream to open your own design firm and become a successful interior designer.

One day, you remember Eva’s and want to give back. You learn about Eva’s Home For Life and decided to design a vignette for the event as your way to give back.

You find out about Eva’s Family Reconnect program. Your relationship with your family was difficult…but you just never had the tools to mend it.

A Family Reconnect counsellor connects with them and you all agree to counselling together. It’s difficult, messy, and complicated. The biggest disconnect was their misunderstanding of your mental health, and how it affected your behavior.

It takes time, but your relationship gets better, and you are able to move back home. The road continues to be rocky, but at least your arguments don’t result in you leaving home (at least not permanently). It’s hard for them but they learn to support your sobriety. They learn to forgive you, and through that, you learn to forgive yourself. You finish high school a year late, and start saving for post-secondary education.

Whatever comes next. You know you’ve got the support of your family and caring adults to to get you through.

After everything the SPOT program has done for you it makes sense. Working on the SPOT team gives you the opportunity to help others who are going through what you went through.

Your work on the SPOT program inspires you to become a social worker. The Eva’s team helps you apply to the program and get into student housing. Your education and new stability gives you the opportunity to re-open communications with your family. Your relationship is different now, but you’re happy to have it even when it’s hard.

After college, you move into an apartment with your sister. It’s a job posting for position at Eva’s Satellite that catches your eye. Memories of the staff that supported you there come rushing back, and you wonder if you can do the same for other youth who are staying there now, so you apply.

These are just a few options Haley has at Eva’s. None of them are possible without your support.

Giving Tuesday is over, but you can still support young people like Haley by shopping Eva’s Gift Catalogue.

Featured Gifts

from Haley’s Story

Harm Reduction Kit
Your gift provides life-saving information and tools to help young people be safer on the journey from chaos to stability.

Many young people who are homeless are at high risk of overdose and serious illness. When they come to Eva’s, they need harm reduction support to help them deal with substance use challenges.


Safe Bed for the Night
Your gift provides a night off the street in a clean, warm bed.

Eva’s provides long-term solutions to youth homelessness but when young people come to our door, they are in crisis and need help right away. Many have endured difficulties like violence, illness, and abuse. City funding only covers a portion of the cost of a bed, so give toward a young person’s first step to healing: safe shelter.


Feed a Youth for a Week
Your gift provides one resident with nutritious meals and snacks for one full week.

Young people need daily nourishment to develop, be healthy and well, and have energy to thrive. We want to ensure they get fresh, whole foods such as produce, meat, chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, and dairy. Residents at Eva’s emergency shelter get three nutritious meals and two snacks a day.