“We all have our dreams…”
When M arrived in Canada with her husband and three children ages 12, 11, and 8, opportunities appeared unending! The move in 2012 was to be a positive one for their children and themselves. Both were doctors from Egypt, skills they were told were in great demand and would be easily ‘transferrable’ in Canada.
Upon arrival they rented a modest four-bedroom townhouse in Burlington. They discovered the ‘transition’ to practicing their medical skills in Canada would require several exams each costing as much as $1,700 and taking months to achieve. A decision was made that M’s husband would better serve their family by returning to their home country and continue his work as a surgeon there. The time they were separated was admittedly hard on their relationship so he returned to Canada, only able to find minimum wage jobs in small convenience stores (the big box stores demanded ‘Canadian work experience’). The loss of dignity lasted only two months and he decided to return to his surgical practice in Egypt.
For a while his financial support continued but it became evident that things were changing out of M’s control. There was another woman…another life her husband had chosen and her support disappeared. She had to be the mother and the father and nurture and provide while in a new country.
Without financial support M was on her own. She put aside her studies and career path and reached out searching to find a lifeline. She connected with Halton Multicultural Council (HMC) for help and advice. M got a job at Tim Horton's but found the work exhausting cleaning, serving and being on her feet all the time with only one brief 15 minute break each shift. And even with the income she had no way of covering rent, food and day to day expenses for her three growing children.
M heard that HMC had a housing program which provided an apartment or townhouse in which the tenant would pay 30% of their household income and Halton Region would provide a rent subsidy to cover the rest of the rent. M applied for the vacancy (competing for the unit with 12 other families for the same apartment) and in 2015 she was accepted into the housing program. She knew the program was temporary but saw it as a very necessary ‘first step’ in the midst of her uncertain future.
It was tough for the kids as they had to move in the middle of the school year…new friends, new teachers, new surroundings, but M had no choice and was so thankful for the opportunity to have a safe affordable home. With a secure roof over her head she could now focus on things so many of us take for granted…our kids happiness, getting her driving license, living with dignity.
As M shared, “We all have dreams…we want to make them happen!”
They lived in the apartment for a year and the stability allowed M to focus on her studies and restart her ambitions to become a doctor in Canada. After a few months M and her children moved to a townhome in Burlington which is not ‘time-sensitive’ and dreams are coming true! M is now applying for her final Medical Council of Canada exam. She will be able to practice medicine upon completion! Her eldest daughter is in university studying science, her second child is studying sciences at the University of Toronto and her youngest son just received a football scholarship!
As with so many people like M who have made it through a challenging journey, her kind offer is to give back and offered to help other families and individuals in any way possible moving forward.
Providing dignified affordable housing with the right supports is the formula for success. It provides the foundation for growth all members of the family and ensures generations to come will be healthy and bright! Please contact Egality today to find out if part of your home or property can be converted to a legal secondary suite to help an individual or family in need. We will make a difference…together.
“Without a roof over your head…it’s the hardest thing.”
In a perfect world marriages are perfect. But our world is not perfect.
P stepped onto Canadian soil several years ago after her marriage. She arrived as a permanent resident to join her husband who was following his dreams to build a better life for himself and his future children. Unfortunately, things did not work for P as she discovered that her spouse is abusive which made it impossible for her to stay. She was forced to leave escaping her abusive relationship with her newborn child, in order to build herself and her child a better future with a peace of mind.
When she realized she needed additional documents for them to stay in Canada, P quickly realized that her ex had taken legal steps to prevent P from getting the paperwork.
P decided to contact a social agency for help after it was very hard for her and her child to survive till she gets her paperwork done. The social agency had no option but to move P and her child to a shelter, but it was overwhelming for her as she found that the two months time limit for living in a shelter was not enough to get all her paperwork done. P was determined to stay focused on her goal of independence. It was a matter of survival.
P’s journey introduced her to Halton Multicultural Council and the opportunity to be selected for one of their subsidized apartments. P would pay 30% of her household income and Halton Region would pay the balance. With a fixed address P could now apply for all of her certificates and keep her child.
It took P over a year for obtaining her paperwork and getting through her separation legal cases, but having a place to live, a roof over her head, allowed P to keep her child. She thanks God each and every day for the gift of housing. And she has created a career that now serves those in need.
P decided to enroll fulltime at College to become a Social Service Worker. This was possible only through the provision of her rent subsidy that allowed her to focus on her studies. Her ambition was rewarded with an honours degree and subsequently a placement at a prominent agency in the Halton region serving families and individuals in need. P now meets and helps to support clients with whom she has a shared journey. She has greater empathy and understanding of their struggles because of the challenges she faced. She encounters people paying $650 per month for a couch (with no allowance to use the kitchen in the next room); $700 for a room (with no bathroom or kitchen privileges); people living in their vehicles. She sees the injustice and does whatever she can to find ways to help those in need of housing and dignity.
Throughout her journey P has grown an inseparable bond with her child who is now in grade one at school. Happiness abounds and her child thinks mother P is a princess (that’s why this is “P’s Story). We believe her child is right.
Every family deserves a home. Egality works with homeowners and developers to create kind and inspired places that enhance wellbeing. If you have a part of your property or home that can be used to provide a home for a family in need, please contact us. We will be happy to meet with you in your home and discuss your interest in creating bright futures for everyone!. We look forward to your call.
“Building their future together.”
For 18 years V operated a successful home construction and property maintenance company in Florida. His wife was a licensed real estate broker and their working visas automatically renewed each year…until one year they didn’t. The consequence forced V and his family to leave the U.S. and either return to Peru or look elsewhere. V’s sister-in-law had always encouraged them to join her in Canada so they applied for permanent residency here.
In December 2015 V’s family of four (children ages 6 and 10) moved into a small bedroom of a home in Burlington Ontario owned and occupied by some friends from Florida. V’s accomplished skills in construction were ready to be utilized but, without ‘Canadian experience’, V found it hard to get work. He sent out 500 resumes without a job offer as their savings were being used up.
Then he met staff at Halton Multicultural Council. They guided V and his wife through a six-month English Language Training course to improve their communication skills and suggested they apply for the Transitional Housing program. If accepted, they would pay 30% of their household income and Halton Region would subsidize the balance of the rent. Fortunately they were chosen from 12 families that applied and they moved into their new home in Burlington.
V’s persistent efforts to find work were rewarded with a construction job. Unfortunately it was about 90 minutes north of his home and the travel time, winter driving conditions and fuel costs barely justified the low income he made. He moved on from that job with hopes that a contractor in Hamilton would pay better and be closer to home. It turned out the owner was busy flipping houses and paid V only $300 per week to do most of the work. The tipping point was when V was told to install new drywall over existing mould-infested drywall so the new owners wouldn’t see the problem. He walked off the job that day never to return.
While the work experiences were negative, V learned a lot about Canadian construction materials and building code requirements and he and his wife decided to start their own construction and renovation company. Finding their first customer was the toughest challenge but once they secured one, others began to come through word of mouth and referrals.
As their transitional housing program was coming to its conclusion after 12 months, V and his wife had to decide whether to buy or rent their next home. Based on the options available to them, in September 2017 they decided to purchase a small but cozy townhouse in Burlington. They are renovating parts of their new home little by little.
Since then their business has continued to grow. V is very thankful for the year of subsidized housing, guidance and friendship HMC provided. It gave them time to explore their options and not be strapped financially. They are not sure where they would be today without the program but are moving forward with their lives because of it.
Egality works with homeowners and developers to create kind and inspired places that enhance wellbeing. If you have a part of your property or home that can be used to provide a home for a family in need, please contact us. We will be happy to meet with you in your home and discuss your interest in creating bright futures for everyone! We look forward to your call!
“A safe affordable home allows us to
think clearly and not be overwhelmed.”
A had an extensive background as a forensic psychiatry in Colombia which had provided professional opportunities in Europe and elsewhere.
Encouraged by his wife’s sister who already lived in Canada, A and his wife applied for a working class visa and were granted it in 2008 and, after a lengthy delay caused by a misdirected e-mail, arrived in Canada as Permanent Residents in 2013. They had the benefit of staying with his wife’s sister in Milton for 18 months. They were welcomed with open arms and it was a huge weight off their shoulders to have a safe secure environment to call home. A was able to secure a job with the Milton Public Library and, following his father advice, leveraged his musical skills and joined a rock band and did studio work for additional exposure and connections.
A’s wife heard of the Transitional Housing program offered by Halton Multicultural Council that would provide them with a home for a reduced rent (30% of their household income) while they worked on their studies and accreditation. They applied to the Transitional Housing program and were selected for an apartment in Burlington. This allowed A and his wife to have their own home and independence. They were able to focus on their studies while A’s wife also took a job in retail. The income wasn’t much but it helped offset some of their monthly expenses. They still had to reach out to food banks to get by each month but had peace of mind and stability in their new home. They were able to think clearly and not be overwhelmed.
Without a business network to reach out to, A followed his sister-in-law’s recommendation, used today’s technology, and networked on LinkedIn and other online platforms. Through these contacts he was offered a fellowship at McMaster University in Hamilton in forensic psychiatry. In A’s words, “It was like winning the lottery”.
The next move was totally unscripted when a forensic psychologist based in Kingston, Ontario mentioned to A that he could apply for a permit to work in his profession in Alberta. Sure enough the source was correct and in one interview A was offered a position and he and his wife moved in late 2016.
Since arriving in Alberta, A’s practice has progressed well and A’s wife secured a fellowship to study mood disorders at a Calgary university. After realizing the fellowship would not be considered ‘Canadian experience’ for her license, A’s wife is now completing her final year of a social work degree with her goal to be a Psychiatric Therapist.
Both A and his wife are shining examples of how their desire to succeed, even against the odds at time, has opened doors and changed their lives and futures! A now wants to help other newcomers who are facing the same challenges.
Egality works with homeowners and developers to create kind and inspired places that enhance wellbeing. If you have a part of your property or home that can be used to provide a home for a family in need, please contact us. We will be happy to meet with you in your home and discuss your interest in creating bright futures for everyone! We look forward to your call.
“Adversity makes you stronger.”
In 2015 R moved to Canada with his wife and their two children ages 7 and 1. Their third child come in 2016 and last year his wife endured 8 weeks in hospital giving birth to their youngest child. Leaving the politically turbulent climate of Bolivia at that time was the right thing to do for his family. They knew Canada was a good choice based on feedback from friends and family. They arrived as permanent residents.
As medical doctors, R and his wife were unable to practice in Canada. R took jobs delivering food, cooking, repairing computers and anything he could do to make ends meet. Their first home was a basement apartment in Mississauga. In 2016 they moved to an apartment building. R remembers the holes in the walls and the landlord who refused to repair the damaged areas nor deal with the cockroach infestation. In 2018 R heard about Halton Multicultural Council (HMC) from a friend and he decided to reach out to them. Their staff encouraged R to apply for their transitional housing program where they could be chosen (amongst 12 -15 other families) for one of the apartments HMC operated. R paid 30% of their monthly household income and Halton Region provided a rent subsidy for the balance of the rent. R’s family was chosen for the program. That was the catalyst for change!
R was able to save some money thanks to the rent subsidy support and began his medical studies. He chose the path to become a cardiac sonographer and achieved his degree! After a 4 month extension in the HMC home due to the pregnancy complications (usually only offered for 12 months), R and his family (now with four children!) moved to a townhouse close to the home HMC offered. The kids were able to stay in the same school and stay close to their friends. R looks forward to a clinical placement in September and completing his postgraduate work.
On looking back, R and his wife knew they had no option to return to Bolivia. They knew that through hard times you need to find ways to survive and that adversity only makes you stronger. They experienced first-hand the frustration of job searches and that it can take one chance encounter, one helping hand, that can make a world of lasting difference. And they are very thankful for the amazing assistance of HMC staff, the wonderful people that have helped them in their first few years here in Canada.
R now wants to help others in whatever way they can and give back some of the kindness they received.
Would you like to help individuals and families like R’s?
Egality creates inspired and kind places that enhances wellbeing. If you have a space in your home or on your property that could become an apartment for someone, please contact us. We will be happy to meet with you in your home and discuss how together we can create a brighter future for everyone!
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