Evelyn lived on the streets for most of her life. She fell into a bad cycle of substance abuse, but she was never given the fighting chance she deserved.
As a baby, Evelyn’s mother left her on the doorsteps of a nunnery and was given to an orphanage where she struggled to stay put as she got older.
“I ran away from foster care,” she said. “Then I went to abusive relationships, so I didn’t know a different life then what I got right now.”
Evelyn was scared – scared to trust and unsure of where to turn; therefore, she lived a life of isolation.
One day – about 8 years ago – she was walking by The Mustard Seed (TMS) downtown and a staff member invited her into the building for a coffee.
“I saw (TMS) had lots of services, but I was still too scared at the time,” she said.
“They offered me a bed to sleep on, then I got a locker and a meal. It was nice and quiet and safe compared to my life sleeping under the bridge and in trees.”
Accepting the invitation to stay, Evelyn slowly but surely became comfortable with the shelter’s setting and guests and began to gain some confidence. After years of people saying “go away”, she told us it felt good for her to belong somewhere.
Today (as of April 2019), Evelyn has obtained a home to call her own in TMS’s 1010 Centre: the permanent supportive housing tower downtown.
“It’s clean, quiet, and safe,” she said. “It feels good to feel like a person – I have a name and people call me by it.”
Recently Evelyn reached out to her family which she had not been connected with for some time. She said she was quite shocked to hear they would come to visit her.
For Evelyn, she was just happy to find a home but is starting to witness the long-term effects that a stable home can have when given a chance.
“I see my kids and my mom – my real mom found me, so I have a friendship with her now.”
In addition to her renewed relationship with her family, Evelyn has also joined TMS’s knitting club and continues to grow in many aspects of her life.
“I don’t run away anymore. I don’t turn to drugs, alcohol, and bad people – I don’t need it.”