People end up in the street for many different reason, most people think all homeless people have issues like addiction and mental health but not all. A lot of us like me, just got in to a bad situation with money and bad decision.
My situation started three years ago, I was working like anybody else making enough money for rent and food and other basic necessity. I was working construction. We were renovating a house and I was digging in the basement when I accidentally fell foot first in a hole that we have dug, I climb back up and dusted myself my foot hurt a little bit but I didn’t real think anything about it and continued to work.
The next day I was surprise to see my foot was swollen and I was in pain, so I went to the hospital they told me I that have hair line fracture. Monday morning gave the company I was working for a call and told them about the injury, in turn they told me that if it was that severe that I should have report when it had happened. I was denied Workman’s compensation, or WSIB for the three months I was healing slowly using up the little money I have save.
I rent a Basement apartment from this couple who just migrated to Canada they were very understanding but they still had to pay their mortgage so when I used up may last month’s rent I had to go. I remember my first night being homeless I did not know where to go, I was riding the TTC and I end up at the Airport exhausted and fell asleep at waiting area.
You might think why not go to friends or relatives. Most of my close friend have move away to different cities and I don’t have any relatives in Canada. Even if they were here, I wouldn’t go to them and ask for help, I will be too embarrass. I guess it’s my pride too I got myself in the hole I will climb back out myself.
I was homeless for about a year and half. I was working whatever work I could find. Would occasionally sleep at the airport and at internet cafés I would go to community center were they have the pools to take showers. I always was clean or try keep myself clean. But I will constantly get sick because of the lack of sleep and proper food. I usually stayed in a particular inter net café in Scarborough which a couple of us where in the same situation.
One of the person in the internet café notice that I was losing a lot weight and getting sick constantly. He told me about the help I could get from different organization Like the Out of the Cold and Ontario Works. He told me that I should get help. I was still hesitant to get help still thinking I be able to do this by myself.
I finally decided that I do need help and I can’t go on like this. I went on Ontario works and found myself an apartment. that was a year and half ago I am now back to work and going back to school for social works in the fall, I want to help people that are in the same situation I was in. I never lost hope and kept fighting. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. It was an interesting journey I would not trade any of my experiences and the people I have met during my time being homeless. There are a lot of good people willing and ready to help.
Written by Winson Leong Yang
In 2012 Winson attended several art sessions at the Art Circle program. He explained to the group that he had been homeless for a year and a half, but through hard work, the support of friends made along the way, and some social assistance, he was able to get back on his feet. He came to the program to express his gratitude and provide hope to other artists. Winson insisted on donating all of the profits he raised through the artwork he sold to the Out of the Cold program. He also wrote his story to share with us all.