After struggling with mental health and addiction in a group home, Samantha found her way to Eva’s Place.
“Being homeless during the winter is cold. I was lucky enough to have a few friends with me at night, but I remember one night I had no one. It was very lonely and it sure was something else and it’s cold. It can be depressing, especially because of the holidays. It’s depressing. It’s stressful. It’s almost every emotion you can think of, besides any good emotions. It’s all bad emotions being mixed up into one giant pile. I remember my friend got frostbite one winter and it was a lot.”
After Samantha was apprehended from her biological mother, she was placed in a group home. But it wasn’t a helpful environment for healing.
“I was in the group home system for a year and that’s actually when I was sleeping on the streets. When I was in [Children’s Aid Society] care, I was running away a lot from my group because I was a teenager; I didn’t want to be in a group home. I got myself involved in not the best situations and stuff happened. At one point I ran away for a week because I was addicted to speed … But I was also running away from my own stuff like I was running away from my feelings. I was running away from all that.”
“When I ran away I had nowhere to go. I would sleep on park benches sometimes, or not sleep at all. I would stay up all night on drugs. I remember there have been a couple times where I would end up sleeping in this parking garage on the bottom floor in this one corner.”
What Samantha really wanted was a family environment, so she applied to a program that pairs homeless youth up with families who have space in their homes. But her mental health diagnosis meant she couldn’t participate in the program, so she came to Eva’s Place.
“One night when I was by myself on the streets, I was honestly thinking about committing suicide. I thought no one cared about me. I was very depressed. At Eva’s Place, generally, my experience has been really good. I have friends and most people are really nice”
“My next step is I want to get a job, I want to go back to school in the new semester, hopefully.”
Samantha was in a different board before her schooling got interrupted, and that can mean she’d have to restart certain courses. This is an example of the kinds of barriers to education youth in care or youth who are homeless face.
On top of trying to secure an apartment with her friend in February, Samantha is hoping to start practicing Ukulele again.
“I know this would have helped me a lot when I was just sitting there by myself if someone just stopped and talked to me. I remember this one time, I just cried my eyes out and everyone just walked by me like it was nothing. Even if you just stop and talk to someone. Ask how we’re doing. It’s really nice and it does pick up our spirits a bit.”
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