Watch this clip from a recent edition of CBC’s the Fifth Estate where Jimmy speaks about his time on the streetsand how he credits Shepherds of Good Hope for saving his life.
Imagine suffering from addiction, mental health or trauma. Imagine losing your livelihood and your family because of this affliction. Imagine feeling completely alone with nowhere to go and no one to turn to for help. This is the unfortunate reality for so many of our community’s homeless men and women. Many of them feel alone and hopeless.
So, you can imagine how it must feel when they discover the sense of community at Shepherds of Good Hope – an organization which welcomes all and provides innovative, comprehensive services to Ottawa’s most vulnerable. By making a donation to Shepherds of Good Hope, you are helping to ensure we are there to provide homeless men and women with the personalized care they need to turn their stories of loss, tragedy, trauma and addiction into stories of hope.
My name is Ray Macquatt and I’m the Program Manager at Shepherds of Good Hope’s Managed Alcohol Program
permanent-residence facility, The Oaks. I first met Jimmy three years ago when I was working at our downtown emergency shelter. He arrived heavily intoxicated and in a terrible state – it was clear that he needed immediate help.
Jimmy spent almost 7 years living on the streets before he found the help he so desperately needed at Shepherds of Good Hope. He wasn’t always homeless – he owned and operated his own business in Northern Ontario, had a family, a wife and a home. When his business began to fail, he started to drink to help cope with the stress. When the business closed, the drinking got worse. When his wife couldn’t take his drinking any longer, she left him. Before he knew it, Jimmy was living on the streets. He was drinking whatever he could get his hands on to feed his addiction – dangerous substances like mouthwash, rubbing alcohol and overproof cooking wine. He was sleeping wherever he could find a place. He spent months sleeping under a parked transport-trailer, fighting to survive the harsh realities of life on the streets. By the time he arrived at our emergency shelter, he had lost all hope.
Jimmy spent six months in our downtown Managed Alcohol Program recovering from the trauma of life on the streets. We provided him with a safe place to sleep, three meals a day and got him away from drinking dangerous non-consumables. When he was ready, he moved to The Oaks and he’s been here ever since – living a life of dignity filled with hope.
Speaking with Jimmy about his journey, he stops to remind me that it’s the small things we might easily take for granted that mean the most to him – like waking up in the same place every day, access to regular meals, being able to shower and having a place to call your own.
“It’s nice to wake up in the same place every day, instead of on the streets. You get beat up, robbed on the streets… its scary out there, especially at night. Not being able to shower, not knowing if you’ll eat. Now I have none of those worries. Now my biggest worry is just hoping this place never shuts down.” says Jimmy.
One of the greatest gifts this program gives its residents is the gift of reuniting them with their estranged family members. It happens every day here at Shepherds of Good Hope; a daughter reconnects with her parents; a father reconnects with his children; siblings speak for the first time in years. Just the other day, Jimmy received a phone call from his nephew, an OPP officer from up North. They hadn’t spoken in over seven years. His nephew had seen a recent episode of CBC’s the Fifth Estate, which featured Jimmy and highlighted The Oaks’ innovative harm-reduction program, and wanted to reach out to tell his uncle he was proud of him. Then, just last week, Jimmy’s ex-wife called him and they spoke for the first time in years. She told him she was hopeful for his future. By supporting Shepherds of Good Hope, you are helping people like Jimmy reunite with their families.
Jimmy credits Shepherds of Good Hope for saving his life.
support of Shepherds of Good Hope, you’ll be helping our community’s
most vulnerable women and men be united in hope.
His is just one of the many stories of lives that have been saved by this program. The Oaks is a community united in hope. This is a special place – a place where people are given a second chance at life and a second chance for a life of dignity.
After another long Ottawa winter, spring is finally here and Easter is just around the corner. This is a special time of year – a time of renewal and a time to rejoice in the endless possibilities for the year that lies ahead. I hope you’ll consider clicking here and making a gift this Easter to help support our community’s most vulnerable and all of their endless possibilities that lie ahead.
Your support makes our organization a place where families are reunited, lives are saved and stories are changed from tragedy to hope. We can’t do it without you. Your generosity allows Shepherds of Good Hope to be a place where people discover they are not alone when they are united in hope.
With sincere thanks,
Program Manager, The Oaks – Shepherds of Good Hope
Click here to donate to Shepherds of Good hope and help make a real difference in the lives of Ottawa’s most vulnerable men and women.