Kim finds peace at Brigid’s Place
For most of her life, Kim has been in search of a safe home. She finally found one with Brigid’s Place.
Kim had a rough start in life, the victim of extreme violence at home when she was growing up. She was scarred emotionally by the abuse and it has plagued her.
When she was 15, Kim ran away from home and kept running. She lived in five different communities in Ontario, usually working as a waitress or scrounging for whatever work she could find to make ends meet. Her friends watched her back and kept an eye on those who might want to harm her. She knew she had to be cautious. That’s what street life teaches you.
After 14 years of drifting, she put down roots in Ottawa. In 1995, Kim gave birth to a beautiful baby boy – Harly. She tells anyone who will listen how Harly became the love of her life the moment she laid eyes on him. Harly is her greatest joy, her reason for living. But when you live on the street, taking care of a child is next to impossible and Kim had to leave her precious son in foster care.
Hard times came and went in Kim’s life but her struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder after years of abuse always got in the way. Kim says she just couldn’t catch a break. When life started to turn for the better, her anxiety would hit back, crippling her attempts at happiness.
Finally, Kim found Brigid’s Place in 2011. It was at the Nelson Street residence where she felt she truly belonged.
Brigid’s Place provides safe housing for 11 women who are chronically homeless. The Shepherds of Good Hope believes safe housing is the first and most important step to helping the women stabilize and improve other areas of their life. The women placed there are suffering from mental health issues, past trauma and/or addictions.
Brigid’s Place provides the women with support. They get healthy meals and a safe environment. For many of them, this is their first home in years after living on the street or in shelters. It’s an opportunity to think about the future, to one day hope for more independence. The women are included in all the decisions made at Brigid’s Place. It sends the message this is a safe home to call their own, a refuge and a respite from the violence, torment and anguish so prevalent for vulnerable women living on the streets.
Kim can see a future. Living at Brigid’s Place, she learned to be more responsible. She learned how to set rules and how to follow them. By coming together with the other women, she realized that a home can be, and should be, a safe place. Like any home, there were conflicts, disagreements, but they always worked it out.
The happiest news for Kim is she reconnected with her son after moving to Brigid’s Place. She speaks to him often. Her next step is to try independent housing again, this time with her partner Rob. She sees light at the end of her journey and admits she couldn’t be in this position without the help from Shepherds of Good Hope.
Most importantly, she knows if she needs help again, Brigid’s Place will always be there to help her and other women who fall victim to homelessness.
Shepherds of Good Hope is able to help women like Kim because of people like you give. If you would like to make a donation or become a Friend of the Shepherds of Good Hope, please go to our donate page.