Larry was “sleeping rough” in Edmonton’s river valley—a wooded parkland in the city, where hundreds of people without homes camp year-round. He would make the long trek every day to Bissell Centre, our Mission and Service partner, to do his laundry, shave, and shower.
Larry made some money through temp work and bottle picking, but he had been unable to get assistance through Alberta Works. A housing worker from Bissell Centre took him to a provincial representative and successfully advocated for him to get regular income.
With newfound confidence and the encouragement of his housing worker, Larry approached a property manager near the centre to ask about an apartment. Two weeks later, he moved into his own suite. With help from Gifts with Vision, the team at Bissell Centre gave Larry and many others housewarming kits when they moved into housing. These kits include items such as pots and pans, utensils, linens, and other supplies.
Bissell Centre’s Outreach Housing Team locates and provides housing assistance in Edmonton. The team takes a customized approach to housing each person and providing the necessary follow-up supports to ensure stability and independence.
Not long after Larry moved into his apartment, his new landlord discovered that he had worked in maintenance many years ago and was quite handy. The landlord hired him on the spot as a custodian and gave him an unexpected raise shortly afterwards in appreciation for his work.
The Bissell Centre team are struck by the transformation in Larry. After a month with proper housing, Larry began to reclaim the person he once was. As well as maintaining a fulfilling job, he returned to playing tennis, a former passion of his. His housing worker says that Larry’s new home speaks to the pride he feels.