Meet Sheena
October 21, 2021

Meet Brenda

Being homeless is a fight for your life each day.

But now I have a home of my own. The first day I walked into my new home that was all mine, I didn’t know what to do because I had a home now.

I just couldn’t believe I was there and I didn’t have to go out and pan and I didn’t have to struggle for a piece of clothing or food or whatever. I had a home. I was safe and I was okay.”

What are you looking forward to this holiday season?

For me – it’s been so long since I’ve celebrated a holiday that I’m looking forward to having an in person holiday event here at Cornerstone.

It’s been a difficult year and a half for all of us, I think we could all use some happiness, community support and holiday cheer this year.

When I was young we didn’t do anything for Christmas. But I loved doing Christmas with my kids and starting new traditions.

My favourite memory is giving them each a gift to open on Christmas Eve then on Christmas day we would do everything backwards. Yes, I said backwards. We would have dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner, we’d even wear our PJs all day long.

I know you’re probably thinking who wants stuffing for breakfast? But I do! It’s my favourite, along with pumpkin pie and my kids loved so I loved it. I loved seeing their eyes light up and their smiles grinning from ear to ear.

I hope you get to have a special moment with your loved ones this year. It’s been a difficult year for all of us. It’s the memories that make our lives special.

Because of you, I am able to create new memories.

I spent more than two years living on the streets before finding a home of my own, here at Cornerstone Housing for Women.

Without the support from donors like you, I don’t know where I’d be.

Because of you I don’t have to struggle now.
I am safe. I am home. I am okay.

I remember my first night at a shelter. It was very scary, it was hard and it was a chore to get up every day.

Being homeless is a fight for your life each day.

I have had a lot of good friends and known many other people that have died from COVID-19 and overdoses. People who are like you and I, they’re good people, but they’ve had to deal with trauma, mental health issues or have a substance use disorder.

On the streets you see a lot of pain. It’s hard to keep your spirits up and believe that something good is going to happen.

But something good did happen for me. You were there for me, Cornerstone was there for me.

With your gift I was able to get off the streets and get the stability and supports I needed to get my life back.

The first day I walked into my new home that was all mine, I didn’t know what to do because I had a home now.

I wasn’t used to having any stability or supports.

I remember I just sat in my room and I just stared and stared. I couldn’t do anything else but stare.

I just couldn’t believe I was there and I didn’t have to go out and pan and I didn’t have to struggle for a piece of clothing or food or whatever. I had a home. I was safe and I was okay.

I have now lived in my home for just over a year and I love it.

People experiencing homelessness need the support from community members like you. Knowing that a stranger cares about you, can really turn someone’s day and life around.

You were there for me when I was struggling on the streets and now I have a home of my own.

Unfortunately, there are 107 women staying in Cornerstone’s shelter each night who do not have a place to call home.

There’s a woman there who could use your kindness and compassion this holiday season – the way you were there for me when I needed you.

Please consider giving a gift today so someone else who’s struggling on the streets can find hope, stability and housing.

I think my favourite thing about living in Cornerstone’s residence is the warmth and strength that the women have and the staff brings to us.

The staff go above and beyond and out of their way for us.

They provide me with beautiful care and support, they are helping me with my sobriety and they have reunited me with my children.

I am so grateful and blessed to live here.  

I love this program because it gives us older women safety, security and friendship. I can be in my room by myself or I can be in the common areas watching TV or doing a puzzle with the other women. Well, in non-COVID times.

Not only do I have a place to call home, but I am a part of a community.

Now that we’re transitioning out of this pandemic life, programs in our house are coming back. I love doing Bingo on Wednesday mornings, movie nights are on Fridays and we can do our nails on Thursdays.

I have met some really great women here and I have become a good friends to many. Just last month, I helped one of the woman move to a different room.

When someone is struggling here, we do our best to lift each other up.

I’m not used to having this community of friends and support. It’s great when we can all come together.

This holiday season you can give the gift of hope and housing to a woman experiencing the crisis of homelessness. You can give someone happiness.

Thank you for helping me be able to create new memories. Because of you I am safe, I am home and I am okay.

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