Thirteen year-old Ivy was forced to grow up all too fast.
“I was under my grandma’s care but she passed away,” says Ivy, now 25. “My uncle cared for me best he could but I started acting out, missing school, and so eventually I got kicked out.”
Ivy survived by couch surfing, but realized it was nei-ther sustainable nor safe. At 15, she enrolled herself in CFS. Ivy was referred to the YRC at 159 Mayfair until she found stable housing at a group home. She returned to school and built relationships with staff and other residents. Just as she was settling in, she received a surprise visit by two police detectives.
“Breach of curfew. This was before my CFS days. I didn’t even know I had a curfew.”
Ivy was taken into custody and spent three months in a juvenile detention centre, but a CFS caseworker advocated for a suspension of sentence and a lifted curfew.
Independent Living with Supports
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Unfortunately, those three months cost Ivy her placement in the group home, but she was referred to a full range of resources like help finding a job at HMV through a partnership with Downtown Winnipeg Biz and the Independent Living with Supports program.
Things were looking up, but just as her third holiday season with the record store was winding down, the struggling music retailer closed all its locations across Canada. Ivy was out of a job.
“That put me in a very difficult situation, and I wasn’t able to afford my place anymore.”
Ivy moved in with her boyfriend and his parents, but when the relationship ended, she once again faced the prospect of living on the streets. However, Ivy was able to turn to access The Link’s Housing First program which helps youth 18-30 who are homeless or aging out of care find permanent housing and provide ongoing support as they make their way in the world as independent adults. Ivy was introduced to Cora Nadeau who had just moved into the position.
I was in a really bad place at the start of the year: emotionally and financially. Cora helped me so much. I couldn’t have done anything without her.
– Ivy, Independent Living with Supports participant.
“I knew Cora from before so it was really nice to have her as my new worker. She actually got me right into a temporary place.”
Beyond help with housing, Cora also took Ivy to appointments, helped her access furniture donations, a food bank program (run through 159 Mayfair), provided moral support, and general navigation through adult life.
Ivy is at last turning her attentions to the future: work and school. “I want to get into software engineering. I was always really good with computers so we’re going to get that sorted out next.”
You can change lives like Ivy's
Mental health, addictions, homelessness and loss of income are all on the rise. But Ivy’s story gives us hope for the future. These programs do change lives. Your support is needed now more than ever. Please consider making a donation to keep these programs stable and available for years to come.