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 I wasn’t on my sister’s lease. We were struggling financially and were 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. 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 week.
“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. My children had access to computers, books, TVs and the staff and volunteers were always playing games, celebrating birthdays, having pizza nights and even karaoke parties. My children and I felt safe 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.”
Brenda’s House is a family homeless shelter that cares for up to 14 families at one time. This long-term shelter supports families until they are able to find permanent, safe housing of their own. In 2016 we supported 60 families and 137 children.