fbpx

There’s Hope here

We know that every person has a particular history and unique potential. We believe that every person deserves access to the resources and opportunities to improve their life, at their own pace. Read some of our clients’ stories and see how far hope can take you.

CORINNE’S STORY

When it seemed she’d lost everything, Corinne found her path to recovery.

READ MORE

EMER’S STORY

Emer made Canada her home, then dedicated herself to helping the homeless.

READ MORE

STEPHANIE’S STORY

Things went from bad to worse until one pivotal night. Stephanie knew things had to change.

READ MORE

Corinne, resident at The Oaks, the permanent residence facility of Shepherds of Good Hope’s Managed Alcohol Program

CORRINE’S STORY

When it seemed she’d lost everything, Corinne found her path to recovery.

When Corinne arrived at Shepherds of Good Hope she had lost a lot: her home, her job, her boyfriend and her family. But after all that loss, she found her path to recovery.

“In all of my 51 years, this is the happiest I have ever been.”

– Corinne, resident at The Oaks

“A FUNCTIONAL ALCOHOLIC”
Corinne describes herself as having been “a functional alcoholic.” She started drinking when she was 33, and while she drank every day, she managed to hold down a job at a downtown Ottawa hotel, and had a boyfriend and a social life. She hid her drinking from her friends, family and her employer.

But as Corinne’s drinking habit worsened, she lost her job and could no longer keep her alcoholism a secret. With the support of her loved ones, she entered and completed a rehab program, but relapsed soon after.

When Corinne drank, she would often “drunk-dial” her parents, accusing them of ruining her life. When they stopped answering her calls, she moved on to calling other relatives and friends. Eventually, they also made the difficult choice of cutting Corinne, and her erratic and disruptive behaviour, out of their lives.

Living in small community south of Ottawa, Corinne felt isolated. She had no means of transportation and no job. She was drunk every day. Finally, in desperation, her boyfriend packed up her clothing and kicked her out of their home.

Scared, angry and alone, Corinne didn’t know where to turn. “I had never had any experience with homelessness or living on the street,” Corinne remembers.

DIAGNOSED AND STABILIZED
Fortunately, Shepherds was there for her. She was admitted to the Women’s Special Care Unit, where she lived for several months while her condition stabilized. Medical professionals diagnosed her with bipolar disorder and prescribed medication to manage her condition; the team at Shepherds helped her learn how to stabilize her mental health.

Once stabilized, she entered Shepherds’ internationally-renowned Managed Alcohol Program (MAP). Corinne’s health continued to improve, and she was offered a chance to move to The Oaks, the MAP’s supportive living facility. She became one of its first residents.

A LIFE TRANSFORMED
When the time was right, Corinne decided to reconnect with her parents. She was extremely nervous. She didn’t know if she could undo the years of damage caused by the anger and verbal abuse she had directed at them. Would they forgive her?

Her parents agreed to visit her for Christmas at The Oaks. When they arrived, Corinne started to cry. They forgave her. These days she talks with her mother and father on a weekly basis.

Today, Corinne’s life has been transformed thanks to the dedication of The Oaks staff and her own hard work. She starts her day off with a coffee and can often be seen carrying a water bottle. She’s chatty and upbeat. Occasionally she will spend an evening with friends. She has no desire to return to her binge-drinking days.

When asked what life is like today, Corinne pauses and collects her thoughts: “In all of my 51 years, this is the happiest I have ever been.”

DONATE ON CORINNE’S BEHALF

 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

“If you’ve been fortunate in your own life, you should help others.”
– Emer Cronin, Shepherds of Good Hope volunteer and donor

EMER’S STORY

In the early ’80s, Emer Cronin, along with her husband Barry and their two children, emigrated from Ireland to Canada. They thought it would be fun to try living in a different country for a couple of years.

Thirty-five years and two more children later, they’re still here.

NO REST ON SUNDAYS
It was Emer’s church that brought her to Shepherds of Good Hope. Since 1988, Divine Infant Church in Orleans has been supplying Shepherds of Good Hope’s kitchen with volunteers on Sundays in July and August — covering more weekends than any other parish in the city.

Emer got involved, helping coordinate 15–20 volunteers for each shift over the nine weekends in the summer, and leading a team that helped prepare and serve meals.

She discovered that she liked Shepherds’ inclusive atmosphere, and the fact that clients were treated with dignity and respect. So, when she had an opportunity to take Wednesdays off from her day job, she decided to use the time to volunteer at the Shepherds clothing program. It gave Emer an opportunity to make personal connections, and to serve a very real need in our community — something that matters deeply to her.

“THE NEED IS ENDLESS”
When asked about the impact she feels she makes, Emer says, “Sometimes it feels like a small drop in the ocean. The need is end­less. When I first moved here, I didn’t think Ottawa would have such a need, and it just keeps growing.”

The task of helping is daunting, but she says, “It’s so much better than not doing any­thing. It also gets the word out and spreads the message across the community.”

MORE THAN ONE WAY TO HELP
Emer believes that if you’ve been fortunate in your own life, you should help others. In fact, helping others is one of her core values, which is why Emer also chooses to donate generously to Shepherds of Good Hope on a monthly basis.

“You do what you can through volunteering, but you only have so many hours in a week. The money can be put to good use at any time.”

“You’re able to see the growth of the organization through innovative programs,” she says. “And you get to watch the funds help the various programs grow.”

Shepherds of Good Hope is grateful for our dedicated team of volunteers and monthly donors — people like Emer, who are helping us provide homes for all, community for all, and hope for all.
 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

“Over the six months I stayed at Shepherds of Good Hope, the staff were always there for me even when I was at my worst and felt truly lost.”

STEPHANIE’S STORY

By age 33, Stephanie’s life was in chaos.

She had three children, her parents had split up and her mother had moved in with her and her kids. But, like a cruel joke, at a time when she needed help the most, Parkinson’s disease took over her mother’s life and her addictions took over her’s.

Things went from bad to worse until one pivotal night. Walking with her baby in her arms and her two older children trailing behind her, she was searching the alleys for her dealer to get her next hit.

It was in that moment, holding her child with one hand and her drug dealer handing her crack in the other, that she knew things had to change.

Stephanie knew this wasn’t the life her kids deserved. She had to do the most difficult thing she has ever done. “I will never forget sitting my three kids down to tell them, ‘Mommy is sick and can’t provide for you anymore’ and that they were going to be adopted by people who could love and care for them properly.”

GROWING UP
Stephanie was born and raised in Arnprior – a valley girl through and through – her childhood was much like anyone else’s. Her parents were loving and supportive.

Of course, life wasn’t always perfect. Her parents were working alcoholics with full-time jobs. She grew up with people who had their own addictions, but it never stopped them from supporting her when she needed help.

Fresh out of high school, Stephanie enrolled in a downtown Ottawa beauty school because she loved, and still loves, doing hair and make-up. It’s been a huge part of her life and a way for her to be artistic and feel good.

But for a valley girl, Stephanie found the city and downtown nightlife enticing – the dark streets with bright lights and easy access to any drug you could imagine. It became addictive very quickly. She started with pot and ended with crack cocaine.

A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY
The first night she stayed at Shepherds of Good Hope’s shelter, she cried herself to sleep. She was scared she didn’t know when exactly her life went off the rails.

“Over the six months I stayed at Shepherds of Good Hope, the staff were always there for me, even when I was at my worst and felt truly lost.”

Stephanie

From food and clothing, to providing a supportive community, and ultimately to helping her find employment and a home of her own, Shepherds of Good Hope was there every step of the way.

In 2016, Stephanie was now housed, but still needed to support herself. The best way she knew how to make money was to panhandle downtown. She would tell people how she just found a place to live and asked people to give her a buck or two to help.

One day, a woman stopped and offered her a number of household items she was giving away. Lamps, side tables, kitchen appliances and more were dropped off at Stephanie’s apartment later that day, all thanks to the kindness of a stranger who saw someone in need and showed compassion.

It was at that time that Stephanie’s life would change forever. Her health took a turn for the worst. She had a stroke in February of 2016. Stephanie’s life now consisted of a lot of physical and emotional pain, she had to relearn how to talk and walk again. She struggled with memory loss and had a long road to recovery ahead.

Her life truly did change forever, it was like trying to move a mountain – a struggle that can’t be fought alone. Stephanie took control of her life again, she stopped doing drugs. She is now 4 years sober from crack cocaine. She has kept her home and she also landed a job at Shepherds of Good Hope as a Peer Support Worker. As a Peer Worker Stephanie runs a beauty and hygiene program for the homeless women staying at the shelter.

“I am truly happy. I love coming to work every day. Not only have I reconnected with my passion for cosmetology but, I am able to put it to good use for some of Ottawa’s most vulnerable women.”

 

DONATE ON BEHALF OF STEPHANIE


 

JESSE’S STORY

Because Shepherds was there in his darkest hours, Jesse survived the street to become an award-winning scholar and advocate.

READ MORE

JIMMY’S STORY

You may have seen Jimmy on CBC’s The Fifth Estate. Learn the rest of his story.

READ MORE

SIM’S STORY

Sim was homeless for nearly 20 years. Today, thanks to Shepherds of Good Hope, he is happy and healthy again, living at The Oaks supportive housing residence.

READ MORE

“Shepherds opened their doors to me when no one else would. They saved my life.”
– Jesse, former Shepherds of Good Hope resident and current PhD student

JESSE’S STORY

Jesse was born in a small Métis-Cree community in northern Saskatchewan.

His family has a history of trauma and addiction. Growing up, he struggled with understanding his identity, and eventually turned to drinking and drugs to help escape the pain he felt. He tried crack for the first time when he was 21, and for the next 11 years, his entire life revolved around getting high.

THE HARDEST YEARS
He would do anything to get his next fix, and that’s why, in 2006, Jesse was arrested for robbery. When it came time for sentencing, the judge took sympathy on him and agreed to release him under the condition he enter rehab and kick his habit. He enrolled in a rehab program in Ottawa, but soon ended up back on the streets. His addiction was too powerful.

Jesse states that the next two years were the hardest of years of his life. His drug completely took over his existence. He found himself sleeping in stairwells, alleyways and outside. He lost all hope.

And then he found Shepherds of Good Hope.

“I HAD NOTHING”
“Shepherds of Good Hope was there for me in my darkest hours. The worst period of my addiction was in 2007 and 2008, when I was most active in my drug use. During that time, when no other shelter would take me, I stayed at Shepherds of Good Hope. They were there for me during this critical time in my life.” says Jesse.

“I had nothing: no clothes, no food, no money and nowhere to stay. It was a brutally cold Ottawa winter. I would find a warm meal to eat and bed to sleep in at Shepherds. They were my only hope. Shepherds opened their doors to me when no one else would.” Jesse continues.

“Shepherds of Good Hope kept me alive.”

“I was that guy you would see begging on the corner of Murray Street and King Edward Avenue. I would wander around the ByWard Market, begging for money to buy drugs. I used to visit the Shepherds of Good Hope clothing program for my monthly ‘shopping.’ Because I was homeless, I couldn’t really wash my clothes, so I would use this program to help stay clean.”

RECONNECTING
In 2008, Jesse was arrested again. The judge gave him a choice: take rehab seriously or go to prison. During his time in rehab he managed to earn a high-school diploma and entered into a bridging program at Carleton University. From there, he enrolled at York University for his undergraduate degree and studied Indigenous History.

During his studies, he explored his family history. He reconnected with his creator.

He also learned about the intergenerational trauma faced by many Indigenous people, and recognized his place in that cycle of trauma. He discovered how unresolved trauma could manifest in self-destructive behaviours, and identified this as the root cause of his addiction issues.

More than 21% of Shepherds’ clients identify as Indigenous, and many share a history of trauma and abuse that has led to addiction and mental health challenges.

“INSIDE ALL OF US IS A PERSON WHO CAN SUCCEED”
Jesse continued his education as a master’s student at Waterloo University. In 2016, he was awarded the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and the Trudeau Foundation Scholarship — the top two doctoral scholarships in the country. He is the resident scholar of Indigenous Homelessness at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. He was also awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal.

Last September, Jesse began working towards a PhD at York University.

“Shepherds of Good Hope saved my life,” he says. “I’ve never forgotten my past, and the experiences which have helped shape who I am today. I am forever thankful Shepherds was there for me in my time of need. I am grateful they didn’t turn their backs on me because of my addiction. I’m grateful they helped give me a second chance.”

Jesse is also a monthly donor to Shepherds.

“Inside all of us is a person who can succeed, regardless of our past or present afflictions, he says. “Your donation to the Shepherds of Good Hope could be helping the next Trudeau-Vanier scholar, the next Governor General’s medallist.”

 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

“It’s nice to wake up in the same place every day, instead of on the streets. It’s scary out there.”
– Jimmy, resident at The Oaks, the permanent residence facility of Shepherds of Good Hope’s Managed Alcohol Program

JIMMY’S STORY

When Jimmy first came to Shepherds of Good Hope in 2014, he had been living on the street for almost seven years. But it hadn’t always been that way.

Jimmy had owned and operated his own business in Northern Ontario, had a family, a wife and a home. When his business began to fail, he started to drink to help cope with the stress. When the business closed, his drinking got worse. When his wife couldn’t take his drinking any longer, she left him.

FEEDING HIS ADDICTION
Before he knew it, Jimmy was living on the streets. He was drinking whatever he could get his hands on to feed his addiction, including dangerous substances like mouthwash, rubbing alcohol and overproof cooking wine.

Jimmy spent eight months sleeping under a parked transport trailer.

Fighting to survive the harsh realities of life on the streets was exhausting, and by the time Jimmy arrived at our emergency shelter, he had lost all hope.

IT’S THE SMALL THINGS
Jimmy spent six months in Shepherds of Good Hope’s downtown Managed Alcohol Program (MAP), recovering from the trauma of life on the streets. There, Shepherds helped stabilize Jimmy, providing him with a warm place to sleep and three meals a day, and turned him away from drinking dangerous non-consumables.

When he was ready, he moved to The Oaks, the MAP’s supportive living facility, where he still lives.

When he speaks about his journey, Jimmy focuses on small things that others might easily take for granted: “It’s nice to wake up in the same place every day, instead of on the streets. You get beat up, robbed on the streets. It’s scary out there, especially at night. Not being able to shower, not knowing if you’ll eat. Now I have none of those worries,” he says.

“Now my biggest worry is just hoping this place never shuts down.”

UNEXPECTED PHONE CALLS
One of the greatest gifts Shepherds of Good Hope’s supportive housing gives its residents is the gift of reuniting them with their estranged family members.

Because of the stability our supportive housing facilities provide, it’s not uncommon for our residents to reunite with estranged family members. We often see a daughter reconnect with her parents, a father reconcile with his children, or siblings speak for the first time in years.

Recently, Jimmy received a phone call from his nephew, an OPP officer who lives in Northern Ontario. He had seen Jimmy in an episode of CBC’s The Fifth Estate that featured a story about The Oaks’ innovative harm-reduction program. He wanted to reach out to tell his uncle he was proud of him.

Not long after, Jimmy’s ex-wife called him. It was the first time they had spoken in years. She told him she was hopeful for his future.

And for the first time in a long time, Jimmy is hopeful for his future as well.

 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

After nearly losing his connection to his language and culture in residential school, today Sim in an Elder and has reconnected with his family. Today, Sim is happy.

SIM’S STORY

Sim was born with a different name: Akearok. It means stomach in Inuktitut. When he was 6 years old, he was sent to a residential school. He was stripped of his identity and given an English name, Simeonie, or Sim for short, and a number. Sim’s was E51655. But he’s much more than a number.

He is a residential school survivor, a father and a grandfather, a teacher and an Elder. And for nearly 20 years, he was homeless.

“I thought I would die on the streets. If Shepherds of Good Hope can help me, they can help anyone,” he says.

He went to a residential school until he was 18 years old. At the residential school, if a student was caught speaking Inuktitut, they would be beaten. That was Sim’s life for 12 years. The trauma he endured has haunted him for many years. It’s one of the reasons he ended up on the streets, and then later, at Shepherds of Good Hope.

Sim grew up in Igloolik, a small community in Nunavut. His family and culture has been his strength over the years. His mother taught him to always smile, to speak kindly about others, and always help people when you can.

As a kid, he liked to play basketball. Sim liked to hunt and live off the land with his family. He was motivated to do well in school and go to post-secondary school.

When Sim was 19 years old, he heard about opportunities and universities available in Ottawa, and so decided to move south. When he arrived in Ottawa, he enrolled in the adult high school to complete his high school diploma. Sim then went on to Carleton University, where he studied English, law and politics for three years. During this time, he met his now ex-wife, and they had five boys in six years. Sim worked as a custodian to support his family while also going to school.

In the mid-1990s, Sim got involved in negotiations with two national Inuit organizations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada in their fight for an acknowledgement from the Federal Government and churches about the residential school system.

Being a part of the negotiations was such an important experience for Sim. He felt he had a purpose. Unfortunately, doing this important work also meant re-living trauma that he hadn’t healed from. To cope, Sim started drinking more and more to numb the pain. His marriage fell apart. His wife left him and took his kids with her. With no other family in Ottawa, Sim found myself homeless.

“That’s how I came to Shepherds of Good Hope. I was left with no wife, no family, and no home. Everything came crumbling down around me.”

Sim started doing drugs and drinking heavily every day. He was in and out of jail. Sleeping in the shelters was rough, but he managed to keep himself busy. It helped to take his mind off the trauma he experienced.

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to all residential school survivors in 2008, Sim says he felt an incredible weight lift off his shoulders. It truly meant a lot, he says, to hear an apology on behalf of all Canadians for the years of trauma he and many others endured in residential schools.

While it has helped Sim move on, the apology didn’t completely erase the pain of those years. By this point in his story, he had been homeless for nearly 15 years. Sim thought he would be on the street forever. It wasn’t until a few years later that he would find a place to call home.

Ray, a staff member at Shepherds of Good Hope, got to know Sim over the years. He knew about Sim’s history of trauma and knew he could help Sim find happiness again. One day in 2012, Ray asked if Sim had a minute to chat. They went into Ray’s office and he told Sim about the program at The Oaks.

It was a place where Sim would have his own room, his own bed, and three meals a day. There would be an hourly pour – a medically-prescribed dose of alcohol so Sim wouldn’t go through withdrawals. That’s how Sim ended up living at The Oaks and he’s been here ever since.

“I love it here. I have a family here. I have been able to reconnect with my culture, my family and find my smile again.”

Today, Sim smiles most when he’s teaching as an Elder or helping someone learn Inuktitut, the language he nearly lost while in residential school.

It’s because of The Oaks and Shepherds of Good Hope that Sim has been able to access counselling services, mental health nurses, and manage his alcohol use. Now that Sim has a permanent residence, his children can come visit him. His sons come once a month and his youngest brings Sim’s grandchild. He gets to be a grandfather or ataatatsiaq, as he is called in Inuktitut.

None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for supporters like you. Thank you for caring about people who have gone through trauma or who struggle with their mental health and addictions.

 

DONATE IN HONOUR OF SIM


 

There’s Hope Here

We know that every person has a particular history and unique potential. We believe that every person deserves access to the resources and opportunities to improve their life, at their own pace. Read some of our clients’ stories and see how far hope can take you.

CORRINE’S STORY

When it seemed she’d lost everything, Corinne found her path to recovery.

READ MORE

CORRINE’S STORY

Corinne, resident at The Oaks, the permanent residence facility of Shepherds of Good Hope’s Managed Alcohol Program

When it seemed she’d lost everything, Corinne found her path to recovery.

When Corinne arrived at Shepherds of Good Hope she had lost a lot: her home, her job, her boyfriend and her family. But after all that loss, she found her path to recovery.

“In all of my 51 years, this is the happiest I have ever been.”

– Corinne, resident at The Oaks

“A FUNCTIONAL ALCOHOLIC”
Corinne describes herself as having been “a functional alcoholic.” She started drinking when she was 33, and while she drank every day, she managed to hold down a job at a downtown Ottawa hotel, and had a boyfriend and a social life. She hid her drinking from her friends, family and her employer.

But as Corinne’s drinking habit worsened, she lost her job and could no longer keep her alcoholism a secret. With the support of her loved ones, she entered and completed a rehab program, but relapsed soon after.

When Corinne drank, she would often “drunk-dial” her parents, accusing them of ruining her life. When they stopped answering her calls, she moved on to calling other relatives and friends. Eventually, they also made the difficult choice of cutting Corinne, and her erratic and disruptive behaviour, out of their lives.

Living in small community south of Ottawa, Corinne felt isolated. She had no means of transportation and no job. She was drunk every day. Finally, in desperation, her boyfriend packed up her clothing and kicked her out of their home.

Scared, angry and alone, Corinne didn’t know where to turn. “I had never had any experience with homelessness or living on the street,” Corinne remembers.

DIAGNOSED AND STABILIZED
Fortunately, Shepherds was there for her. She was admitted to the Women’s Special Care Unit, where she lived for several months while her condition stabilized. Medical professionals diagnosed her with bipolar disorder and prescribed medication to manage her condition; the team at Shepherds helped her learn how to stabilize her mental health.

Once stabilized, she entered Shepherds’ internationally-renowned Managed Alcohol Program (MAP). Corinne’s health continued to improve, and she was offered a chance to move to The Oaks, the MAP’s supportive living facility. She became one of its first residents.

A LIFE TRANSFORMED
When the time was right, Corinne decided to reconnect with her parents. She was extremely nervous. She didn’t know if she could undo the years of damage caused by the anger and verbal abuse she had directed at them. Would they forgive her?

Her parents agreed to visit her for Christmas at The Oaks. When they arrived, Corinne started to cry. They forgave her. These days she talks with her mother and father on a weekly basis.

Today, Corinne’s life has been transformed thanks to the dedication of The Oaks staff and her own hard work. She starts her day off with a coffee and can often be seen carrying a water bottle. She’s chatty and upbeat. Occasionally she will spend an evening with friends. She has no desire to return to her binge-drinking days.

When asked what life is like today, Corinne pauses and collects her thoughts: “In all of my 51 years, this is the happiest I have ever been.”

DONATE ON CORINNE’S BEHALF

 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

EMER’S STORY

Emer made Canada her home, then dedicated herself to helping the homeless.

READ MORE

EMER’S STORY

“If you’ve been fortunate in your own life, you should help others.”
– Emer Cronin, Shepherds of Good Hope volunteer and donor

In the early ’80s, Emer Cronin, along with her husband Barry and their two children, emigrated from Ireland to Canada. They thought it would be fun to try living in a different country for a couple of years.

Thirty-five years and two more children later, they’re still here.

NO REST ON SUNDAYS
It was Emer’s church that brought her to Shepherds of Good Hope. Since 1988, Divine Infant Church in Orleans has been supplying Shepherds of Good Hope’s kitchen with volunteers on Sundays in July and August — covering more weekends than any other parish in the city.

Emer got involved, helping coordinate 15–20 volunteers for each shift over the nine weekends in the summer, and leading a team that helped prepare and serve meals.

She discovered that she liked Shepherds’ inclusive atmosphere, and the fact that clients were treated with dignity and respect. So, when she had an opportunity to take Wednesdays off from her day job, she decided to use the time to volunteer at the Shepherds clothing program. It gave Emer an opportunity to make personal connections, and to serve a very real need in our community — something that matters deeply to her.

“THE NEED IS ENDLESS”
When asked about the impact she feels she makes, Emer says, “Sometimes it feels like a small drop in the ocean. The need is end­less. When I first moved here, I didn’t think Ottawa would have such a need, and it just keeps growing.”

The task of helping is daunting, but she says, “It’s so much better than not doing any­thing. It also gets the word out and spreads the message across the community.”

MORE THAN ONE WAY TO HELP
Emer believes that if you’ve been fortunate in your own life, you should help others. In fact, helping others is one of her core values, which is why Emer also chooses to donate generously to Shepherds of Good Hope on a monthly basis.

“You do what you can through volunteering, but you only have so many hours in a week. The money can be put to good use at any time.”

“You’re able to see the growth of the organization through innovative programs,” she says. “And you get to watch the funds help the various programs grow.”

Shepherds of Good Hope is grateful for our dedicated team of volunteers and monthly donors — people like Emer, who are helping us provide homes for all, community for all, and hope for all.
 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

STEPHANIE’S STORY

Things went from bad to worse until one pivotal night. Stephanie knew things had to change.

READ MORE

STEPHANIE’S STORY

“Over the six months I stayed at Shepherds of Good Hope, the staff were always there for me even when I was at my worst and felt truly lost.”

By age 33, Stephanie’s life was in chaos.

She had three children, her parents had split up and her mother had moved in with her and her kids. But, like a cruel joke, at a time when she needed help the most, Parkinson’s disease took over her mother’s life and her addictions took over her’s.

Things went from bad to worse until one pivotal night. Walking with her baby in her arms and her two older children trailing behind her, she was searching the alleys for her dealer to get her next hit.

It was in that moment, holding her child with one hand and her drug dealer handing her crack in the other, that she knew things had to change.

Stephanie knew this wasn’t the life her kids deserved. She had to do the most difficult thing she has ever done. “I will never forget sitting my three kids down to tell them, ‘Mommy is sick and can’t provide for you anymore’ and that they were going to be adopted by people who could love and care for them properly.”

GROWING UP
Stephanie was born and raised in Arnprior – a valley girl through and through – her childhood was much like anyone else’s. Her parents were loving and supportive.

Of course, life wasn’t always perfect. Her parents were working alcoholics with full-time jobs. She grew up with people who had their own addictions, but it never stopped them from supporting her when she needed help.

Fresh out of high school, Stephanie enrolled in a downtown Ottawa beauty school because she loved, and still loves, doing hair and make-up. It’s been a huge part of her life and a way for her to be artistic and feel good.

But for a valley girl, Stephanie found the city and downtown nightlife enticing – the dark streets with bright lights and easy access to any drug you could imagine. It became addictive very quickly. She started with pot and ended with crack cocaine.

A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY
The first night she stayed at Shepherds of Good Hope’s shelter, she cried herself to sleep. She was scared she didn’t know when exactly her life went off the rails.

“Over the six months I stayed at Shepherds of Good Hope, the staff were always there for me, even when I was at my worst and felt truly lost.”

Stephanie

From food and clothing, to providing a supportive community, and ultimately to helping her find employment and a home of her own, Shepherds of Good Hope was there every step of the way.

In 2016, Stephanie was now housed, but still needed to support herself. The best way she knew how to make money was to panhandle downtown. She would tell people how she just found a place to live and asked people to give her a buck or two to help.

One day, a woman stopped and offered her a number of household items she was giving away. Lamps, side tables, kitchen appliances and more were dropped off at Stephanie’s apartment later that day, all thanks to the kindness of a stranger who saw someone in need and showed compassion.

It was at that time that Stephanie’s life would change forever. Her health took a turn for the worst. She had a stroke in February of 2016. Stephanie’s life now consisted of a lot of physical and emotional pain, she had to relearn how to talk and walk again. She struggled with memory loss and had a long road to recovery ahead.

Her life truly did change forever, it was like trying to move a mountain – a struggle that can’t be fought alone. Stephanie took control of her life again, she stopped doing drugs. She is now 4 years sober from crack cocaine. She has kept her home and she also landed a job at Shepherds of Good Hope as a Peer Support Worker. As a Peer Worker Stephanie runs a beauty and hygiene program for the homeless women staying at the shelter.

“I am truly happy. I love coming to work every day. Not only have I reconnected with my passion for cosmetology but, I am able to put it to good use for some of Ottawa’s most vulnerable women.”

 

DONATE ON BEHALF OF STEPHANIE


 

JESSE’S STORY

Because Shepherds was there in his darkest hours, Jesse survived the street to become an award-winning scholar and advocate.

READ MORE

JESSE’S STORY

“Shepherds opened their doors to me when no one else would. They saved my life.”
– Jesse, former Shepherds of Good Hope resident and current PhD student

Jesse was born in a small Métis-Cree community in northern Saskatchewan.

His family has a history of trauma and addiction. Growing up, he struggled with understanding his identity, and eventually turned to drinking and drugs to help escape the pain he felt. He tried crack for the first time when he was 21, and for the next 11 years, his entire life revolved around getting high.

THE HARDEST YEARS
He would do anything to get his next fix, and that’s why, in 2006, Jesse was arrested for robbery. When it came time for sentencing, the judge took sympathy on him and agreed to release him under the condition he enter rehab and kick his habit. He enrolled in a rehab program in Ottawa, but soon ended up back on the streets. His addiction was too powerful.

Jesse states that the next two years were the hardest of years of his life. His drug completely took over his existence. He found himself sleeping in stairwells, alleyways and outside. He lost all hope.

And then he found Shepherds of Good Hope.

“I HAD NOTHING”
“Shepherds of Good Hope was there for me in my darkest hours. The worst period of my addiction was in 2007 and 2008, when I was most active in my drug use. During that time, when no other shelter would take me, I stayed at Shepherds of Good Hope. They were there for me during this critical time in my life.” says Jesse.

“I had nothing: no clothes, no food, no money and nowhere to stay. It was a brutally cold Ottawa winter. I would find a warm meal to eat and bed to sleep in at Shepherds. They were my only hope. Shepherds opened their doors to me when no one else would.” Jesse continues.

“Shepherds of Good Hope kept me alive.”

“I was that guy you would see begging on the corner of Murray Street and King Edward Avenue. I would wander around the ByWard Market, begging for money to buy drugs. I used to visit the Shepherds of Good Hope clothing program for my monthly ‘shopping.’ Because I was homeless, I couldn’t really wash my clothes, so I would use this program to help stay clean.”

RECONNECTING
In 2008, Jesse was arrested again. The judge gave him a choice: take rehab seriously or go to prison. During his time in rehab he managed to earn a high-school diploma and entered into a bridging program at Carleton University. From there, he enrolled at York University for his undergraduate degree and studied Indigenous History.

During his studies, he explored his family history. He reconnected with his creator.

He also learned about the intergenerational trauma faced by many Indigenous people, and recognized his place in that cycle of trauma. He discovered how unresolved trauma could manifest in self-destructive behaviours, and identified this as the root cause of his addiction issues.

More than 21% of Shepherds’ clients identify as Indigenous, and many share a history of trauma and abuse that has led to addiction and mental health challenges.

“INSIDE ALL OF US IS A PERSON WHO CAN SUCCEED”
Jesse continued his education as a master’s student at Waterloo University. In 2016, he was awarded the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and the Trudeau Foundation Scholarship — the top two doctoral scholarships in the country. He is the resident scholar of Indigenous Homelessness at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. He was also awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal.

Last September, Jesse began working towards a PhD at York University.

“Shepherds of Good Hope saved my life,” he says. “I’ve never forgotten my past, and the experiences which have helped shape who I am today. I am forever thankful Shepherds was there for me in my time of need. I am grateful they didn’t turn their backs on me because of my addiction. I’m grateful they helped give me a second chance.”

Jesse is also a monthly donor to Shepherds.

“Inside all of us is a person who can succeed, regardless of our past or present afflictions,
he says. “Your donation to the Shepherds of Good Hope could be helping the next Trudeau-Vanier scholar, the next Governor General’s medallist.”

 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

JIMMY’S STORY

You may have seen Jimmy on CBC’s The Fifth Estate. Learn the rest of his story.

READ MORE

JIMMY’S STORY

“It’s nice to wake up in the same place every day, instead of on the streets. It’s scary out there.”
– Jimmy, resident at The Oaks, the permanent residence facility of Shepherds of Good Hope’s Managed Alcohol Program

When Jimmy first came to Shepherds of Good Hope in 2014, he had been living on the street for almost seven years. But it hadn’t always been that way.

Jimmy had owned and operated his own business in Northern Ontario, had a family, a wife and a home. When his business began to fail, he started to drink to help cope with the stress. When the business closed, his drinking got worse. When his wife couldn’t take his drinking any longer, she left him.

FEEDING HIS ADDICTION
Before he knew it, Jimmy was living on the streets. He was drinking whatever he could get his hands on to feed his addiction, including dangerous substances like mouthwash, rubbing alcohol and overproof cooking wine.

Jimmy spent eight months sleeping under a parked transport trailer.

Fighting to survive the harsh realities of life on the streets was exhausting, and by the time Jimmy arrived at our emergency shelter, he had lost all hope.

IT’S THE SMALL THINGS
Jimmy spent six months in Shepherds of Good Hope’s downtown Managed Alcohol Program (MAP), recovering from the trauma of life on the streets. There, Shepherds helped stabilize Jimmy, providing him with a warm place to sleep and three meals a day, and turned him away from drinking dangerous non-consumables.

When he was ready, he moved to The Oaks, the MAP’s supportive living facility, where he still lives.

When he speaks about his journey, Jimmy focuses on small things that others might easily take for granted: “It’s nice to wake up in the same place every day, instead of on the streets. You get beat up, robbed on the streets. It’s scary out there, especially at night. Not being able to shower, not knowing if you’ll eat. Now I have none of those worries,” he says.

“Now my biggest worry is just hoping this place never shuts down.”

UNEXPECTED PHONE CALLS
One of the greatest gifts Shepherds of Good Hope’s supportive housing gives its residents is the gift of reuniting them with their estranged family members.

Because of the stability our supportive housing facilities provide, it’s not uncommon for our residents to reunite with estranged family members. We often see a daughter reconnect with her parents, a father reconcile with his children, or siblings speak for the first time in years.

Recently, Jimmy received a phone call from his nephew, an OPP officer who lives in Northern Ontario. He had seen Jimmy in an episode of CBC’s The Fifth Estate that featured a story about The Oaks’ innovative harm-reduction program. He wanted to reach out to tell his uncle he was proud of him.

Not long after, Jimmy’s ex-wife called him. It was the first time they had spoken in years. She told him she was hopeful for his future.

And for the first time in a long time, Jimmy is hopeful for his future as well.

 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

SIM’S STORY

Sim was homeless for nearly 20 years. Today, thanks to Shepherds of Good Hope, he is happy and healthy again, living at The Oaks supportive housing residence.

READ MORE

SIM’S STORY

After nearly losing his connection to his language and culture in residential school, today Sim in an Elder and has reconnected with his family. Today, Sim is happy.

Sim was born with a different name: Akearok. It means stomach in Inuktitut. When he was 6 years old, he was sent to a residential school. He was stripped of his identity and given an English name, Simeonie, or Sim for short, and a number. Sim’s was E51655. But he’s much more than a number.

He is a residential school survivor, a father and a grandfather, a teacher and an Elder. And for nearly 20 years, he was homeless.

“I thought I would die on the streets. If Shepherds of Good Hope can help me, they can help anyone,” he says.

He went to a residential school until he was 18 years old. At the residential school, if a student was caught speaking Inuktitut, they would be beaten. That was Sim’s life for 12 years. The trauma he endured has haunted him for many years. It’s one of the reasons he ended up on the streets, and then later, at Shepherds of Good Hope.

Sim grew up in Igloolik, a small community in Nunavut. His family and culture has been his strength over the years. His mother taught him to always smile, to speak kindly about others, and always help people when you can.

As a kid, he liked to play basketball. Sim liked to hunt and live off the land with his family. He was motivated to do well in school and go to post-secondary school.

When Sim was 19 years old, he heard about opportunities and universities available in Ottawa, and so decided to move south. When he arrived in Ottawa, he enrolled in the adult high school to complete his high school diploma. Sim then went on to Carleton University, where he studied English, law and politics for three years. During this time, he met his now ex-wife, and they had five boys in six years. Sim worked as a custodian to support his family while also going to school.

In the mid-1990s, Sim got involved in negotiations with two national Inuit organizations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada in their fight for an acknowledgement from the Federal Government and churches about the residential school system.

Being a part of the negotiations was such an important experience for Sim. He felt he had a purpose. Unfortunately, doing this important work also meant re-living trauma that he hadn’t healed from. To cope, Sim started drinking more and more to numb the pain. His marriage fell apart. His wife left him and took his kids with her. With no other family in Ottawa, Sim found myself homeless.

“That’s how I came to Shepherds of Good Hope. I was left with no wife, no family, and no home. Everything came crumbling down around me.”

Sim started doing drugs and drinking heavily every day. He was in and out of jail. Sleeping in the shelters was rough, but he managed to keep himself busy. It helped to take his mind off the trauma he experienced.

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to all residential school survivors in 2008, Sim says he felt an incredible weight lift off his shoulders. It truly meant a lot, he says, to hear an apology on behalf of all Canadians for the years of trauma he and many others endured in residential schools.

While it has helped Sim move on, the apology didn’t completely erase the pain of those years. By this point in his story, he had been homeless for nearly 15 years. Sim thought he would be on the street forever. It wasn’t until a few years later that he would find a place to call home.

Ray, a staff member at Shepherds of Good Hope, got to know Sim over the years. He knew about Sim’s history of trauma and knew he could help Sim find happiness again. One day in 2012, Ray asked if Sim had a minute to chat. They went into Ray’s office and he told Sim about the program at The Oaks.

It was a place where Sim would have his own room, his own bed, and three meals a day. There would be an hourly pour – a medically-prescribed dose of alcohol so Sim wouldn’t go through withdrawals. That’s how Sim ended up living at The Oaks and he’s been here ever since.

“I love it here. I have a family here. I have been able to reconnect with my culture, my family and find my smile again.”

Today, Sim smiles most when he’s teaching as an Elder or helping someone learn Inuktitut, the language he nearly lost while in residential school.

It’s because of The Oaks and Shepherds of Good Hope that Sim has been able to access counselling services, mental health nurses, and manage his alcohol use. Now that Sim has a permanent residence, his children can come visit him. His sons come once a month and his youngest brings Sim’s grandchild. He gets to be a grandfather or ataatatsiaq, as he is called in Inuktitut.

None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for supporters like you. Thank you for caring about people who have gone through trauma or who struggle with their mental health and addictions.

 

DONATE IN HONOUR OF SIM


 

GRACE’S STORY

Grace travelled from Rwanda to Canada in search of hope — but her journey was just the beginning.

READ MORE

STEVE’S STORY

Steve had a dream of helping the homeless. Literally.

READ MORE

TEREZA’S STORY

Tereza’s drinking was out of control. She was suicidal. And then, she found Shepherds.

READ MORE

Grace worked full time while studying at Queen’s University, and graduated debt free. It seemed like her life was on course.

GRACE’S STORY

Grace’s road to hope has been a long and winding one.

At the age of 21, Grace escaped the turmoil of her native Rwanda and journeyed to Canada to make a better life for herself. She ended up in Kingston, where she pursued an undergraduate degree in civil engineering at Queen’s University while holding down a full-time job. She graduated debt free and planned on continuing her studies and following a master’s program.

UPROOTED AGAIN
Grace met a charming, well-educated man and the two soon began dating — but as their relationship deepened, Grace learned that his appealing exterior hid a cruel, vicious personality. He was violent, and wouldn’t let Grace end their relationship. One day, when he tried to break down the door to her apartment, Grace’s screams prompted a neighbour to call 911.

The man was known to police and had a documented history of abuse. The police suggested that Grace relocate to another city to escape him. Fearing for her life, Grace fled that night, leaving behind her job, her home and her dreams of higher education.

TEMPORARY SHELTER
She ended up on the doorstep of a shelter for abused women in Ottawa, where she lived for three months.

Around this time, Grace’s mother passed away suddenly. Grace travelled home to Rwanda for the funeral, a trip that exhausted her savings. When Grace returned to Ottawa, she was penniless, and without a place to call her own.

GETTING BACK ON TRACK
Grace found shelter at Shepherds of Good Hope. And while she stayed with us, a case manager worked with her to help her secure a permanent job, find housing and cover her moving expenses.

And now, after a long detour, Grace is finally back on the road to a brighter future.

 

DONATE ON BEHALF OF GRACE


 

“Mental health is such a big contributor to homelessness and people need to recognize that.
– Steve MacIntosh, Senior Assistant Manager, Shepherds of Good Hope

STEVE’S STORY

One night in 1998, Steve MacIntosh awoke suddenly from a dream in which he was working at a shelter.

A few days later, when he saw an advertisement for a front-line position at Shepherds of Good Hope, he remembered the dream, and took the coincidence as a sign. “I figured, what the heck, what did I have to lose? So, I applied, and the rest is history!” he says.

FAST FORWARD 20 YEARS
Steve is now the Senior Assistant Manager at Shepherds, acting as the central coordinator for all our programs.

When asked what he likes best about his job, Steve struggles to choose.

When asked what he likes best about his job, Steve struggles to choose — probably because he does so much. He works with people at the main downtown shelter and kitchen, but also manages communications between Shepherds’ six satellite locations.
He helps resolve client issues, deals with emergency scheduling issues and supports staff in various ways — something new every day.

“IT REALLY HELPS YOU AS A PERSON”
But when pressed to identify what makes his job so fulfilling, he says, “Of course, the clients! They’re the heart and soul of why we’re here. They’re so genuine.”

He adds that there’s an “insight into humanity that working at a homeless shelter provides. We deal with so much emotion every single day working here. These experiences and the insight you gain from them really help you as a person, in an overall sense.”

Steve also cherishes the opportunity to interact and support his colleagues. (Not to mention the infamous Shepherds of Good Hope Chili Cook-Off.)

“IT’S NOT A CHOICE”
Steve’s biggest frustration is the misconceptions he hears when people talk about homelessness. He wants people to understand that homelessness is not a choice, and that people are not homeless because they’re “lazy” or they “choose” to live on the street.

People are not homeless because they’re “lazy” or they “choose” to live on the street.

“That’s just not true,” he says. “People are here for a variety of reasons, including addictions and/or mental health issues. Mental health is such a big contributor to homelessness, and people need to recognize that. It’s not a choice for a lot of people here, it’s more of a way to survive.”

But it was Steve’s choice to join us here at Shepherds of Good Hope — and on behalf of all our employees, volunteers and clients, we’re glad he did.

 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

“My drinking was out of control. I was suicidal. Then, a miracle happened — I found Shepherds of Good Hope.
– Tereza, resident at Shepherds of Good Hope’s supportive housing facility, St. Andrew’s Residence

TEREZA’S STORY

When Tereza was just 15 years old, she was forced to flee from her village in Sudan, where a violent civil war had claimed the lives of her entire family. Thankfully, the United Nations helped her come to Canada as a refugee.

“I can still remember how it felt when I landed in Toronto — hopeful. I knew I was finally going to have a better life,” says Tereza.

But things didn’t work out as she had imagined.

“TAKING THE EDGE OFF”
In Toronto, Tereza was introduced to alcohol. At first, drinking helped take the edge off of living in a strange new place. But only at first. Life in the big city became too much for her, and alcohol wasn’t making it any better.

Tereza moved to Ottawa to try and get her life back on track, but in her new home, her drinking habit only got worse. She tried a number of programs to quit, but none of them seemed to work.

Eventually, she was evicted from her apartment.

“My drinking was out of control. I was suicidal…I wanted to die. Then, a miracle happened — I found Shepherds of Good Hope. And that’s when everything changed.” Tereza remembers.

A DIAGNOSIS, A WAY FORWARD
She didn’t know it when she landed in Canada, but Tereza lives with serious mental health challenges. When she arrived at Shepherds, the staff helped her find a doctor who diagnosed her with schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder. The doctor told her that in order for her to get better, she needed to stop drinking.

Before her diagnosis, Tereza had been drinking to help cope with the symptoms of her illnesses. But at Shepherds, she was able to get the support she needed to understand and manage her disorders.

“That was 23 years ago, and I have been sober ever since.”

“Thanks to Shepherds of Good Hope, I was able to turn my life around. That was 23 years ago, and I have been sober ever since,” Tereza says with pride.

“A HEALING PLACE”
Tereza spent two years in the Shepherds shelter, finding the stability she needed to regain control of her life. When she was ready, her Shepherds case worker helped her move into St. Andrew’s Residence — our supportive housing facility for men and women who suffer from mental health challenges and addictions, but who are able to live with a high level of independence.

“It’s such a healing place. The program staff are so supportive and are always there to help when you need them.” Tereza says.

Since moving to St. Andrew’s Residence, Tereza has redeveloped basic life skills, such as cooking and cleaning. She has also been able to continue her education, and is working on completing her high school diploma — something she never thought would be possible.

GIVING BACK
Tereza even finds the time to give back to her community by volunteering. Tereza uses her past experiences to help others who are suffering from mental health challenges. “It’s one of my greatest achievements. And it’s all because of Shepherds of Good Hope,” she says.

“All this is possible because of you.”

Tereza holds a special place in her heart for donors and volunteers who support Shepherds of Good Hope.

“All this is possible because of you,” she says. “I often wonder where I would be right now if you hadn’t taken the time to support Shepherds. I am grateful to call St. Andrew’s Residence my home, and I am grateful for people like you.”

 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

WENDY’S STORY

Wendy knows she won’t be forgotten when her time comes to depart this life. Learn about her legacy.

READ MORE

“Teaching my family the importance of being altruistic and caring for others through my generosity is my lasting gift to them.”
– Wendy Stewart, Shepherds of Good Hope donor

WENDY’S STORY

Wendy Stewart is 90 years young.

She often says she knows she’s old, but she doesn’t fear her age. She knows she won’t be forgotten when her time comes to depart this life. Her values will be upheld, and her legacy will live on — in part through the people she helps with her generous support of Shepherds of Good Hope.

35 YEARS OF SUPPORT
Wendy is proud to say she’s been supporting Shepherds of Good Hope for almost 35 years. She feels an immense sense of pride knowing her support has helped Shepherds become the organization it is today; she likens it to watching one of her beloved children grow and mature.

Wendy was born and raised in London, England and moved to Canada in 1955. She worked as a nurse in England, and upon her arrival in Canada was hired on almost immediately at the General Hospital. She laughs quietly as she recalls, “It was much easier to get a job back in those days — it seemed all you needed was a strong work ethic and a dedication to your role.”

Wendy came to charity through her church, and gives to charities she feels have the greatest need.

Wendy lived in Lowertown when Shepherds of Good Hope was just starting. On her way to and from work, she would see the lineup of hungry people waiting outside Shepherds’ doors for the kitchen to open. Supporting Shepherds’ work made sense to her — helping those in need, in her own community.

She became a donor, and as her means grew, so did her support for the cause.

A BEACON OF HOPE
Wendy has two daughters and two granddaughters, whom she loves dearly. She feels blessed that they are healthy and prosperous. She knows that when she is gone, they will be well cared for and lead comfortable lives.

She wishes the same for the less fortunate, and that’s why she became a member of the Beacon of Hope Society for legacy donors — ensuring she can continue to help after she’s gone, by including Shepherds of Good Hope in her will.

“By ensuring my support of Shepherds of Good Hope continues past my death, I am ensuring there continues to be a guiding light for those in need.”

People often ask Wendy how her family feels, knowing she has left a portion of her estate to a cause near to her heart — and she tells them that her loved ones couldn’t be happier. Wendy claims transparency has made the experience of leaving a bequest even more enjoyable, as her family is able to share in her wishes while she’s still around.

“Money may come and go, but teaching my family the importance of being altruistic and caring for others through my generosity is my lasting gift to them,” she says.

“I believe Shepherds does a fantastic job being a leader in compassionate care for our community’s homeless. I like that they serve women and men equally and provide innovative housing solutions to those who are hardest to serve,” she continues.

OUR WORK IS HER LEGACY
Wendy will be turning 91 soon, and while she’s not sure how long she has left in this world, she knows she can continue to help us foster hope and reduce harm in Ottawa.

“What causes are important to you?” she asks. “Which of your values do you hope will be upheld after you pass? And what can you do to ensure that happens?”

Wendy knows she’s helped change many lives through her support of Shepherds of Good Hope. And now, she has the satisfaction of knowing that, with her help, Shepherds will continue to provide homes for all, community for all — and hope for all.

Or, as she puts it, simply, “Their work will be part of my legacy.”

 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

KIRA’S STORY

 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

JOHN’S STORY

 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

GRACE’S STORY

Grace travelled from Rwanda to Canada in search of hope — but her journey was just the beginning.

READ MORE

GRACE’S STORY

Grace travelled from Rwanda to Canada in search of hope — but her journey was just the beginning.

Grace’s road to hope has been a long and winding one.

At the age of 21, Grace escaped the turmoil of her native Rwanda and journeyed to Canada to make a better life for herself. She ended up in Kingston, where she pursued an undergraduate degree in civil engineering at Queen’s University while holding down a full-time job. She graduated debt free and planned on continuing her studies and following a master’s program.

UPROOTED AGAIN
Grace met a charming, well-educated man and the two soon began dating — but as their relationship deepened, Grace learned that his appealing exterior hid a cruel, vicious personality. He was violent, and wouldn’t let Grace end their relationship. One day, when he tried to break down the door to her apartment, Grace’s screams prompted a neighbour to call 911.

The man was known to police and had a documented history of abuse. The police suggested that Grace relocate to another city to escape him. Fearing for her life, Grace fled that night, leaving behind her job, her home and her dreams of higher education.

TEMPORARY SHELTER
She ended up on the doorstep of a shelter for abused women in Ottawa, where she lived for three months.

Around this time, Grace’s mother passed away suddenly. Grace travelled home to Rwanda for the funeral, a trip that exhausted her savings. When Grace returned to Ottawa, she was penniless, and without a place to call her own.

GETTING BACK ON TRACK
Grace found shelter at Shepherds of Good Hope. And while she stayed with us, a case manager worked with her to help her secure a permanent job, find housing and cover her moving expenses.

And now, after a long detour, Grace is finally back on the road to a brighter future.

 

DONATE ON BEHALF OF GRACE


 

STEVE’S STORY

Steve had a dream of helping the homeless. Literally.

READ MORE

STEVE’S STORY

Steve had a dream of helping the homeless. Literally.

One night in 1998, Steve MacIntosh awoke suddenly from a dream in which he was working at a shelter.

A few days later, when he saw an advertisement for a front-line position at Shepherds of Good Hope, he remembered the dream, and took the coincidence as a sign. “I figured, what the heck, what did I have to lose? So, I applied, and the rest is history!” he says.

FAST FORWARD 20 YEARS
Steve is now the Senior Assistant Manager at Shepherds, acting as the central coordinator for all our programs.

When asked what he likes best about his job, Steve struggles to choose.

When asked what he likes best about his job, Steve struggles to choose — probably because he does so much. He works with people at the main downtown shelter and kitchen, but also manages communications between Shepherds’ six satellite locations.
He helps resolve client issues, deals with emergency scheduling issues and supports staff in various ways — something new every day.

“IT REALLY HELPS YOU AS A PERSON”
But when pressed to identify what makes his job so fulfilling, he says, “Of course, the clients! They’re the heart and soul of why we’re here. They’re so genuine.”

He adds that there’s an “insight into humanity that working at a homeless shelter provides. We deal with so much emotion every single day working here. These experiences and the insight you gain from them really help you as a person, in an overall sense.”

Steve also cherishes the opportunity to interact and support his colleagues. (Not to mention the infamous Shepherds of Good Hope Chili Cook-Off.)

“IT’S NOT A CHOICE”
Steve’s biggest frustration is the misconceptions he hears when people talk about homelessness. He wants people to understand that homelessness is not a choice, and that people are not homeless because they’re “lazy” or they “choose” to live on the street.

People are not homeless because they’re “lazy” or they “choose” to live on the street.

“That’s just not true,” he says. “People are here for a variety of reasons, including addictions and/or mental health issues. Mental health is such a big contributor to homelessness, and people need to recognize that. It’s not a choice for a lot of people here, it’s more of a way to survive.”

But it was Steve’s choice to join us here at Shepherds of Good Hope — and on behalf of all our employees, volunteers and clients, we’re glad he did.

 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

TEREZA’S STORY

Tereza’s drinking was out of control. She was suicidal. And then, she found Shepherds.

READ MORE

TEREZA’S STORY

“My drinking was out of control. I was suicidal. Then, a miracle happened — I found Shepherds of Good Hope.
– Tereza, resident at Shepherds of Good Hope’s supportive housing facility, St. Andrew’s Residence

When Tereza was just 15 years old, she was forced to flee from her village in Sudan, where a violent civil war had claimed the lives of her entire family. Thankfully, the United Nations helped her come to Canada as a refugee.

“I can still remember how it felt when I landed in Toronto — hopeful. I knew I was finally going to have a better life,” says Tereza.

But things didn’t work out as she had imagined.

“TAKING THE EDGE OFF”
In Toronto, Tereza was introduced to alcohol. At first, drinking helped take the edge off of living in a strange new place. But only at first. Life in the big city became too much for her, and alcohol wasn’t making it any better.

Tereza moved to Ottawa to try and get her life back on track, but in her new home, her drinking habit only got worse. She tried a number of programs to quit, but none of them seemed to work.

Eventually, she was evicted from her apartment.

“My drinking was out of control. I was suicidal…I wanted to die. Then, a miracle happened — I found Shepherds of Good Hope. And that’s when everything changed.” Tereza remembers.

A DIAGNOSIS, A WAY FORWARD
She didn’t know it when she landed in Canada, but Tereza lives with serious mental health challenges. When she arrived at Shepherds, the staff helped her find a doctor who diagnosed her with schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder. The doctor told her that in order for her to get better, she needed to stop drinking.

Before her diagnosis, Tereza had been drinking to help cope with the symptoms of her illnesses. But at Shepherds, she was able to get the support she needed to understand and manage her disorders.

“That was 23 years ago, and I have been sober ever since.”

“Thanks to Shepherds of Good Hope, I was able to turn my life around. That was 23 years ago, and I have been sober ever since,” Tereza says with pride.

“A HEALING PLACE”
Tereza spent two years in the Shepherds shelter, finding the stability she needed to regain control of her life. When she was ready, her Shepherds case worker helped her move into St. Andrew’s Residence — our supportive housing facility for men and women who suffer from mental health challenges and addictions, but who are able to live with a high level of independence.

“It’s such a healing place. The program staff are so supportive and are always there to help when you need them.” Tereza says.

Since moving to St. Andrew’s Residence, Tereza has redeveloped basic life skills, such as cooking and cleaning. She has also been able to continue her education, and is working on completing her high school diploma — something she never thought would be possible.

GIVING BACK
Tereza even finds the time to give back to her community by volunteering. Tereza uses her past experiences to help others who are suffering from mental health challenges. “It’s one of my greatest achievements. And it’s all because of Shepherds of Good Hope,” she says.

“All this is possible because of you.”

Tereza holds a special place in her heart for donors and volunteers who support Shepherds of Good Hope.

“All this is possible because of you,” she says. “I often wonder where I would be right now if you hadn’t taken the time to support Shepherds. I am grateful to call St. Andrew’s Residence my home, and I am grateful for people like you.”

 

DONATE ON BEHALF


 

WENDY’S STORY

“Teaching my family the importance of being altruistic and caring for others through my generosity is my lasting gift to them.”
– Wendy Stewart, Shepherds of Good Hope donor

READ MORE

JESSE’S STORY

“Teaching my family the importance of being altruistic and caring for others through my generosity is my lasting gift to them.”
– Wendy Stewart, Shepherds of Good Hope donor

WENDY’S STORY

Wendy Stewart is 90 years young.

She often says she knows she’s old, but she doesn’t fear her age. She knows she won’t be forgotten when her time comes to depart this life. Her values will be upheld, and her legacy will live on — in part through the people she helps with her generous support of Shepherds of Good Hope.

35 YEARS OF SUPPORT
Wendy is proud to say she’s been supporting Shepherds of Good Hope for almost 35 years. She feels an immense sense of pride knowing her support has helped Shepherds become the organization it is today; she likens it to watching one of her beloved children grow and mature.

Wendy was born and raised in London, England and moved to Canada in 1955. She worked as a nurse in England, and upon her arrival in Canada was hired on almost immediately at the General Hospital. She laughs quietly as she recalls, “It was much easier to get a job back in those days — it seemed all you needed was a strong work ethic and a dedication to your role.”

Wendy came to charity through her church, and gives to charities she feels have the greatest need.

Wendy lived in Lowertown when Shepherds of Good Hope was just starting. On her way to and from work, she would see the lineup of hungry people waiting outside Shepherds’ doors for the kitchen to open. Supporting Shepherds’ work made sense to her — helping those in need, in her own community.

She became a donor, and as her means grew, so did her support for the cause.

A BEACON OF HOPE
Wendy has two daughters and two granddaughters, whom she loves dearly. She feels blessed that they are healthy and prosperous. She knows that when she is gone, they will be well cared for and lead comfortable lives.

She wishes the same for the less fortunate, and that’s why she became a member of the Beacon of Hope Society for legacy donors — ensuring she can continue to help after she’s gone, by including Shepherds of Good Hope in her will.

“By ensuring my support of Shepherds of Good Hope continues past my death, I am ensuring there continues to be a guiding light for those in need.”

People often ask Wendy how her family feels, knowing she has left a portion of her estate to a cause near to her heart — and she tells them that her loved ones couldn’t be happier. Wendy claims transparency has made the experience of leaving a bequest even more enjoyable, as her family is able to share in her wishes while she’s still around.

“Money may come and go, but teaching my family the importance of being altruistic and caring for others through my generosity is my lasting gift to them,” she says.

“I believe Shepherds does a fantastic job being a leader in compassionate care for our community’s homeless. I like that they serve women and men equally and provide innovative housing solutions to those who are hardest to serve,” she continues.

OUR WORK IS HER LEGACY
Wendy will be turning 91 soon, and while she’s not sure how long she has left in this world, she knows she can continue to help us foster hope and reduce harm in Ottawa.

“What causes are important to you?” she asks. “Which of your values do you hope will be upheld after you pass? And what can you do to ensure that happens?”

Wendy knows she’s helped change many lives through her support of Shepherds of Good Hope. And now, she has the satisfaction of knowing that, with her help, Shepherds will continue to provide homes for all, community for all — and hope for all.

Or, as she puts it, simply, “Their work will be part of my legacy.”

 

DONATE ON BEHALF