Deanna is one of many senior women who have found themselves facing homelessness in Greater Vancouver. More than 13 per cent of our region’s seniors live in poverty. Due to dramatic increases in the cost of housing, the rate of seniors’ homelessness has increased fivefold since 2008.
As with virtually all EFry clients, Deanna endured difficult circumstances before connecting with us. For many years, she lived with an abusive partner, which led to a major head trauma that left her in a four-day coma. She had to re-learn to speak and was left unable to work, all while grieving the loss of her mother. She found the strength to leave her relationship, though it meant seeking support from homeless shelters during the height of the pandemic. Resources were scarce. Many shelters had closed their doors, while others had maximum stays.
Deanna was faced with having to move from shelter to shelter. She made the best of her situation, but often felt isolated and alone, despite having to share a living space with up to six other women. One day, someone from the shelter she was staying at mentioned EFry’s Hotels to Homes program. Through the program, EFry rents rooms in two hotels to prevent women and children from finding themselves without a place to live during the pandemic. As with all our shelter programs, we work with each client to help find them permanent housing.
Deanna entered the program this past spring. She has successfully found a permanent home and is now planning her next steps towards a new future. Deanna wants to help others and considering training in substance use counselling. She is also an avid knitter, creating beautifully knitted toys and scarves that she donates to others.
“EFry is so helpful, patient, kind and supportive, providing me with the tips, advice and linking me with resources I most needed. When I was experiencing periods of anxiety and needed someone to talk to, there would always be someone there from EFry. It’s a totally different story here, as moving from shelter to shelter you don’t get to know anyone.”