Travis went from experiencing homelessness to studying at university.
“It started when I was 15—I was removed from my family home by the police when things got really bad one day. I ended up doing a lot of couch surfing, but thankfully, I only spent a few nights outside. Things didn’t get better when I graduated from high school; they actually got worse. I was still angry and hurt. I ended up hitchhiking across the country, getting into drugs and living on the streets.
But in 2015, I was offered the chance to go home and get clean. A few months later, I was accepted into a United Way-supported transitional housing program for men recovering from addiction. There were a lot of very strict rules, but I was being held accountable—maybe for the first time ever. I started doing everything I could do to avoid falling back into old habits, like volunteering at a community garden.
Now, I’m studying computer science at university and working part time at a local homeless shelter. It’s been a very fulfilling experience—being able to identify with people who went through a similar situation and actually getting real with them when we talk.
When I was at my worst, I would walk down the street and people would pretend I wasn’t there. Nowadays, people cross the street just to say hi to me. I want people like me to know it can get better. There are always going to be people there for you—you just have to open up and allow them in.” —Travis
Travis like many youth is Saskatoon grew up in an vulnerable situation. Without knowing where else to turn he felt the only way to survive was to leave home. In Saskatoon there are over 400 individuals and children who also have no place to call home.
Journey Home is a United Way supported Housing First program that has helped 64 individuals like Travis attain stable housing. These individuals often in dire situations, are offered wrap around supports such as addictions counseling, mental health support and a personal support worker to help them get their life back.
United Way of Saskatoon and Area believes no one should be living rough on the streets in Saskatoon. Last year, through another United Way supported agency 167 individuals were assisted with finding and maintaining housing placements. And were provided with one-one one support and case management.
Through the work of United Way vulnerable individuals are being seen, heard and helped; thanks to people like Daniel who take action and show their local love people like Travis are no longer ignorable.