Jill’s Story – Sigh of Relief

I can’t even tell you how heartbreaking it was to realize we no longer had a home. I was so scared because I didn’t want to end up on the streets. That wasn’t an option, not while I was supporting my 3 young children. I was grateful when a worker at Gillian’s Place referred me to the YW. I’d tried every other option I could think of. I didn’t even know about the YW until they told me. I am so thankful they did! As soon as I called, the advocate worked with me to create some temporary solutions until we could figure out what to do. I kept saying, we cannot go out on the streets. Please help us!

We were leaving a really awful situation that I’d rather not talk about. I was able to save myself and my babies from this situation by leaving our original house, but we had to couch surf for a bit. It wasn’t a great experience. I feel bad but mainly thankful to all my friends who helped us throughout this time. I know it’s not easy having 3 children (5, 3, and 6 month-old) crowding in your home. But many friends helped us throughout the 5 month wait until we could get our new home. I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I had kept my babies in our original home; I feel sick just thinking about it. The YW’s offsite worker took over our case quickly after that phone call to help us find a unit that would work for our needs. It wasn’t easy to accommodate us, especially with a baby, but finally we found something!

They always talk about the first time you step inside your new place. The immediate sigh of relief. That feeling didn’t come right away for me. I know my children – the 3 and 5 year old – were very happy and excited to have a home again with their own rooms. They took to our home so quickly! My baby began resting more as if she could sense a stable environment and knew our fight was finally over. But it took about three weeks for me to finally feel that relief. I think because I was scared another shoe would drop. That they would call and say they made a mistake, or we needed to go somewhere else. I was so worried about it.

The moment I felt the relief was when I was on the phone with my YW social worker. When she laughed at my question of if I could put up the painting my oldest son made at school on the wall. She laughed! I was so nervous to even ask and she laughed!


“Yes, Jill. Of course you can put up that painting. You can put up a few paintings. This is your home.”
I paused.
“Jill. Did you hear me? This is YOUR home.”

Each night as my children brushed their teeth in random bathrooms as we stayed with different friends, I would hold onto the dream that I would one day be able to fully protect my children from the situation we fled. Here it was. 5 months of uncertainty and fright that I had to hide for my children’s sake, coming to an end. I could finally come out of fight or flight mode. I breathed out that huge sigh of relief. This place, where we have been settling in was our home. I could finally unpack our things including my suitcase which I’d continue to live out of for the three weeks prior. We were staying here. We were safe here. This is OUR home.

It’s been just over 3 months since we’ve been in our new home. It’s the perfect place. We have a good school nearby for my son and childcare close thankfully so I was able to go back to work after my parental leave. I continue to work closely with my social worker toward my goals. I’m starting schooling in January in hopes I’ll be able to get a better paying job. We are doing everything we can to get back on our feet. I’m starting to feel hopeful again that we will be okay.

Now that we have a place to call our own, we have four walls that can be covered by my children’s paintings, and I never have to ask for permission to proudly display my son’s creative side again. I’m happy. We are happy.

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