Today I had an unexpected opportunity to check out the affordable homes at 1406 Bowen Road – there was a birthday party happening there and I needed to help someone get there to attend. I was excited, I’ve been wanting to check out this beautiful award-winning complex for quite some time.
As we drove into the parking lot for the very first time, we were greeted by someone near the entrance with a smile and a wave. It actually caught me a bit by surprise as I didn’t know them and they didn’t know us. That made me smile and I waved back – what a pleasant place!
We began to walk over to the home where the birthday party was being held. I noticed that there were a few others walking through the complex to get where they needed to go, and even with the rain, there was clearly an upbeat energy in the air.
We walked past some of the shared spaces and through the two rows of very well designed, beautiful housing until we reached the destination. The sense of community is without a doubt very strong here. It feels good.
I introduced myself and we had a great conversation, and my curiosity got the best of me – I had to ask more about their home. They smiled proudly and welcomed me in to come check it out. They explained how the energy efficient system works, and they showed me around their beautiful home that they’ve personalized and made theirs. It was very nice!
How hardship turned into a success story
They also shared how they got there. In their circumstance, late last year their family was in a rental in Harewood which had a serious flooding issue and they had to move – but they had no place to go. In this market, that’s a pretty serious thing for many to face because as we all know (we do all know this right?), affordability is a serious problem here in Nanaimo for many youth, seniors, and others.
This family was lucky – they were able to be placed into a hotel for two months under the emergency social services program. However, things began to get worse, as they can when you don’t have a stable home to call your own.
They became homeless and ended up living in their mini-van. Their children were taken away because they didn’t have a home, and although they had been approved for this new housing – it wasn’t ready yet so they were in a limbo state.
In fact, they were very close to having to live in tent city – and that’s not surprising – when there are little resources and help available (many people are only a few paychecks away from being homeless) difficult choices need to be made all along the way.
Thankfully they made it through, and into a home. Their family is moving forward in positive directions now – they have a place to call their own, they are all back together as a family, they have jobs and help support each other through this journey called life.
It’s a success story, but it’s not always that way
Often people just need a hand up for them to turn their story into one of success, and this was one of those times. There are many difficult circumstances that can lead to homelessness though, and I’d like to begin exploring that further in future posts. I hope you’ll join me.
Do you have a story to share?