Larry is a gentle man, who says he is incredibly grateful for the services he has accessed at The Mustard Seed. When we asked if he would share his story he replied, “Anything for you guys.”
Up until a year ago, Larry was self-sufficient; he had worked all his life. However, Larry says he lost his job because he could no longer perform his duties at a local ice rink due to chronic and severe pain in his feet.
Once he became unemployed, Larry eventually ran out of money for rent and ended up staying staying at The Mustard Seed Shelter and using our Wellness Services.
“It’s convenient, the doctors are there as soon as you get off the bus…you don’t have to hobble elsewhere,” says Larry. “I’m treated excellent.”
The doctors at our clinic are still trying to determine the best way to treat Larry. Along with the chronic pain, he has wounds on his feet that won’t heal; his condition may be related to the second and third degree burns he suffered on his feet when he was a young boy.
Larry’s story demonstrates the complex relationship between homelessness and poor health.
People experiencing homelessness often need a great deal of health care, but they may find it difficult to get treatment. Sometimes it’s as simple as not being able to get to appointments, but frequently it is feelings of stigmatization that prevent people from asking for help.
“To be homeless is to be invisible, cause you’re just part of the background, nobody really notices you, nobody pays attention to you,” Larry says.
The other problem that arises is that without a home it is difficult to follow a treatment regime, especially since the daily struggles of living in poverty can be exhausting.
Research shows homeless people in their 40’s and 50’s often develop health disabilities that are more commonly seen only in people who are decades older. In addition, people experiencing homelessness are also admitted to hospital up to 5 times more often than the general population.
We’re very happy to report that Larry has just moved into The Mustard Seed’s 1010 Centre, an apartment building that offers affordable housing for 224 men and women. Our housing team was able to work with Larry when he arrived at the shelter and find him a new home. The hope is now that he has stable housing again, Larry can concentrate on his health.
The Mustard Seed believes by caring for the whole person, we can offer real change to our guests.