“My home:” Patricia’s story
In February 2019, Patricia and her two-year-old child, Victoria, arrived at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC) in despair. One of the members of a single mothers group, to which Patricia belongs, had recommended the Women’s Centre. “She knew just how bad I was struggling and she told me about DEWC,” she says. Patricia, who is originally from Mexico, was initially hesitant because she believed her case was not typical for DEWC, especially having a baby and coming from a different country. She feared rejection.
However, she was at her wits end, so she decided to take a leap of faith. “That day, I was at risk of being homeless because I didn’t have enough money to pay my rent,” Patricia recalls. Justina, her housing support worker at DEWC, remembers just how critical Patricia’s case was. “Patricia was in despair, depressed, anxious and afraid. She was isolated and felt undermined by society,” says Justina.
DEWC quickly became a place of love and safety for Patricia. “[DEWC is] my home. I was there everyday to have breakfast and lunch, and work with my support worker [to get] a better place. Slowly, everyone became my family. The love that the women in the Centre were giving to my baby was priceless,” says Patricia. Living in the Downtown Eastside with her child has not been an easy experience, Patricia admits. “It could be very stressful because the environment is not very kid-friendly. I felt I need to be more aware of everything in case of an emergency,” she says.
DEWC helped Patricia and her daughter find a home, and provided a sense of community. Patricia says she is grateful for the support and empowerment she has received, which enabled her to work towards improving her family’s living situation. “DEWC approved my rental support for a year while we were working to find a better place for me and my baby,” she says. Now, they are one step closer towards a better life and a brighter future in their new home.
. “[DEWC is] my home.”
Nora has some important words for other single mothers who are going through the same struggles: “It may be hard, stressful, exhausting. You will be really lucky if you have family to help you. But even if you are a single mom, you are the blessed one. My kids are my treasures. I’d never trade them for anything.” To everyone else, she offers this advice: “Don’t ever let anything get you down. Just smile and say, ‘It’s [going to be] okay.’”
Patricia’s story is featured in our 2019 Winter Newsletter. Click here to view an e-version of the newsletter.