Katie’s warm energy and infectious grin makes you feel welcome as soon as you step into her home at a CJHS youth building. The 20-year-old has been living there for two years.
“I’ve never felt more supported in a place, ever, than I do here,” she says.
Katie’s parents divorced when she was around 8 years old and it was hard on the young girl. “I didn’t realize how much it affected me,” she says.
Katie’s housing situation was rarely stable. From moving in and out of her dad’s trailer in British Columbia, to her mom’s house in Calgary where guests frequently came and went, to sleeping in a tent in the park and using youth shelters, it was nearly impossible to regularly attend school.
Katie experienced years of neglect, abuse and, eventually, addiction.
“I came into this house at my lowest point,” she says. “When I first moved in, I was socially underdeveloped and really closed off.”
ROOFS FOR YOUTH
Through the support of her caseworker and support staff, Katie has learned life skills like how to cook, and how to love herself. “Now I have more confidence than I’ve ever had. I actually want a future for myself,” she says. “I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the support I have in this house.”
CJHS’s Roofs for Youth program provides supportive housing for youth ages 15-24 who are experiencing homelessness and don’t have the support of family or child intervention services. Here, they have a safe, stable home with client-driven case management support that helps them move towards independence and healthy adulthood.
A BRIGHTER FUTURE
Katie hopes to eventually move to one of Roofs for Youth’s independent housing units, and to reunite with her beloved cat, Loki. “He was the only thing that kept me going for so long,” she says.
Katie loves the outdoors and would like to go backpacking one day. “Now I know much more about myself and I know the staff will support me with my goals.”