“I have lived with anxiety and depression for much of my adolescent and adult life. I struggled with the illnesses untreated and behind closed doors due to the stigma and the fear that it creates. This stigma was compounded by the fact that I worked in the mental health field. I knew I was supposed to be the person helping others. I finally opened up about my mental health and began taking medications two years ago and now in recovery.
Living Space was created in 2017 through a partnership of Timmins’ service organizations who recognized the need for a comprehensive and coordinated response to the large number of people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in our community. I have worked within the sphere of homelessness for the better part of fifteen years and was shocked when I moved to Timmins in 2012 to find that resources did not exist and that the issue was not being talked about. I became motivated to change this out of pure frustration with the system and with decision makers who did not feel the issue deserved attention.
The key to ending homelessness is comprehensive, coordinated, and accessible services. Living Space is advocating for change at the systems level that will allow people to access the right type of support, at the right time and move them quickly out of homelessness. These coordinated services need to be matched with harm reduction, non-judgmental, and no-barrier approaches. It is important that Living Space creates a non-judgmental atmosphere so that no one feels unwelcome or afraid to seek support. It’s difficult to build awareness around the need. People assume that smaller communities do not face the same issues, and so therefore don’t focus on finding solutions. I am confident that people now know the extent of the issue and are wanting to build solutions.
Housing is a human right and shelters are an important part of the puzzle to ending homelessness and are absolutely necessary to enable people to take the first step to recovery.”