Meet Brenda
November 12, 2021

Meet Natalie

That first night at the shelter was terrifying. I didn’t know what my day would be like from one day to the next.

When I first heard that I could move into one of Cornerstone’s residences, I was excited about the thought of having my own place to call home. I had never lived alone before. I was excited about not having be on the streets anymore.

I have lived here for nearly 4 years. I love it here. I have a community. I’m never alone.”

I was born and raised in Ottawa. I have three brothers, I lived a pretty normal life growing up. I came from a good family.

My mom sadly passed away when I was 18 years old. It was a very difficult time for myself and my entire family, and it’s still hard today, but I’m glad to have a supportive family with who I talk to regularly.

I got married when I was pretty young and was with him for nearly two decades. However, it did not end well. He kicked me out of our place and that’s how I ended up living at a couple of women’s shelters downtown Ottawa for nearly a year – and ended up at Cornerstone’s emergency shelter.

That first night at the shelter was terrifying. I didn’t know what my day would be like from one day to the next. It definitely made me realize that all of those material things I used to have didn’t matter, it’s the people and communities that matter most. Cornerstone has been a part of my community for nearly four years now.

When I first heard that I could move into one of Cornerstone’s residences, I was excited about the thought of having my own place to call home. I had never lived alone before. I was excited about not having be on the streets anymore.

I have lived here for nearly 4 years. I love it here. I have a community. I’m never alone.

I like being with the other women who live here, I’ve made some good friends. I like the staff as well. They’ve been a great support for me when I’m struggling with my mental health, I know I can always ask for help.

This pandemic has been very difficult on my mental health, and many others. I miss all of the activities and programs we used to do. It’s been lonely, but the staff has been trying to help us get through it and now the activities have slowly started up again it’s a great feeling for us all to be together again.

One of my favourite activities is to help out with dinner, especially for the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love to cook! My parents were both great cooks too.

Now that I have a home of my own, and a great community of supports I have decided to go back to school to work as a PSW. I used to work at the Ottawa Hospital for more than a decade. I’m looking forward to this next chapter in my journey.

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