Homelessness to a parent is terrifying, for a child it’s debilitating. Layla’s story is all-too-common for new Canadians trying to be safe for the first time in their lives.
"When I came to Calgary as a refugee from Egypt, I lived with my two children and sister in a small, one-bedroom apartment. After a few months, we were evicted because a technicality -- I wasn’t on my sister’s lease. We were struggling financially and now homeless in a new country with no one to turn to for help.
"My children and I went to a shelter, but it wasn’t good for my kids to be on the street during the day and at night sleeping with many strangers in the same room. We were scared again for the first time since Egypt. When I heard about Brenda’s House, and how they were different from other shelters. I called as soon as I could. We packed what we had and moved in the next day.
"I knew when we walked in, this shelter was special. They helped me find a job, helped my kids into school and they helped find an affordable apartment. The workers at Brenda’s House were caring, kind and patient with us. It didn’t feel like we were in a shelter at all. My children had access to computers, books, TVs and the staff and volunteers were always playing games, celebrating birthdays, hosting pizza nights and karaoke parties. My children and I felt safe and hopeful for the first time in a long time.
Two years later, we are still living in the apartment Brenda’s House helped us find. My kids are doing well in school and I finally feel like we can make a good life here in Canada."