Q: Suppose you were kicked out of your home and your friends didn’t have space for you to stay with them. What would you do?
Fred Victor has two shelters, one shelter just for women and the other one, for everyone including dogs and cats. Shelters are not just places to sleep. They are portals of information about health and permanent housing as well as networking hubs that help people survive when life choices seem the narrowest and most difficult.
I’ve never forgotten where I’ve come from and as long as I don’t, I’ll be beneficial to others. It wasn’t that long ago that I spent many of my days living on a heat grate on Yonge Street. People would walk by, look down on me and even spit on me.
When I reached out for help overcoming my drug addiction and my homelessness, the folks at Fred Victor saw something in me.
And because they saw something in me, I saw something in myself. When you come from my place of drug addiction, you don’t know when you’ll have that day of clarity.
The staff at Fred Victor doesn’t give up on people. I knew I was amongst people who wouldn’t judge me or look down on me and I really appreciated the fact that everyone was treated as equal.
Today, I’m a relief worker with Fred Victor Housing & Shelter Services helping others as I was once helped. In January, after learning that a transgendered client was turned away from another city shelter, I decided to take up his cause and help raise awareness about the need for equality.
Currently, there are services available for transwomen (male to female) but very few available for transmen (female to male). I’m helping to raise awareness for the need to change this and shelter standards and policies so that everyone can have access to safe services and is respected and appreciated wherever they go.
In the words of the late Audrey Hepburn: “people, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.”