Joe’s Story (Resident)

September 1, 2017 | Written by

I’m from Alberta. I quit high school and jumped on the drilling rigs when I was 18 and made a boat-load of cash. I did that for two years and then the economy crashed and I was left without a job but a raging drug addiction.

I moved to Vancouver after I screwed over the last person who cared about me. I was running from the mistakes I had made. Running from myself. I never really learned how to be an adult. Or how to talk to people about how I feel. I was just in my shell. I said Vancouver will be a fresh start for me but I just did the same thing in a different place.

I was on the streets of Vancouver for a while. Struggling, using, drinking, and trying to put my life back together but it wasn’t working. I lost my job in Vancouver and I hopped on a ferry and kept running away from my problems. I wasn’t ready to give up the lifestyle I was in so I wasn’t putting my life back together.

I came out here [Victoria] not knowing a damn thing or anyone. I had no money and I was working at a temp agency and spending all my earnings that night. I then became… I guess you could say a full-time homeless person. Before I was kinda holding it together a little bit, as disastrous as it was, I was holding it a little bit together. But then I started to sleep under a tree in a park. I tented and then I stayed in a shelter.

I gave up completely. I was thinking, is this really the rest of my life? I looked around and I thought, I don’t want this, I was raised in a decent home but I didn’t do anything about it. I never thought I’d ever be homeless so it was pretty strange.

Coming to Anawim, Terry [Anawim’s Director] was talking to me like he’s known me forever and like he loved me. Right then and there I was thinking, wow, this place is different. The love was just… really something.

At the time, I was saying I need a roof over my head. I didn’t realize I needed more. Being homeless, there’s no value to anything you do. It’s like observing. Anawim does things differently. They add value. If you want to eat, you need to help with chores. It’s like a home. They supply you with the basics but they work with you to change.

After living in the house for some time, Rob [House Manager] recommended I join a training program and they helped me to build a resume and set me up to find a job. That was the perfect thing for me. I found a roofing job. It got me back into a routine. Now I’ve just bought a car. I am working towards being a positive member of society.

I’ll work this job for a while, save up money, move back to Alberta and be a family man. I ran away from being a dad. But I have a better head on my shoulders now. I have clarity on life. I’m now the polar opposite of when I was panhandling.

I want to take my Class 1 drivers course because I would love to make money at driving. It is a sustainable living. It’s a simple plan. I just want to walk my dog and take my kid to the park.

Anawim caught me at the right time, if I didn’t find Anawim when I did, I don’t know if I would be on the right path now.






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