So many people come through our doors each day at Shepherds of Good Hope. So many stories and so many personalities that touch our hearts – Suzanne is one of those.
At 71-years-old, Suzanne is still sharp, witty, and hilarious. She is a retired social worker who used to work for the City of Ottawa.
“I used to refer people to Shepherds of Good Hope. I never thought I’d end up there myself.”
Born and raised in Ottawa, she remembers growing up on Murray St. with her family. She sang at the cathedral and was even asked to join the Pope’s Choir.
At 19, she married a man that was seven years her senior and eventually gave birth to two sons.
Later in her adult life, things took a turn for the worse. Suzanne endured an extremely abusive marriage, and she faced personal health challenges because of the trauma she had experienced.
However, Suzanne persevered.
She rented a beautiful studio apartment in an upscale retirement residence. After nearly two years there, things began to deteriorate. Her relationships with the residence’s staff became strained.
One night after experiencing a medical emergency, she was admitted to the hospital. Upon her return home, Suzanne found that her lease had been terminated, and she had been evicted.
“My life’s possessions had been removed from my apartment – clothes, jewelry, memories – even my beloved cat – all gone,” she recalls.
At 70-years-old, with a walker and limited mobility, Suzanne found herself without a place to call home and nowhere to turn. She lost all hope.
“That day I ended up at Shepherds of Good Hope’s shelter. It was not a day I ever thought I would experience.”
At Shepherds of Good Hope, staff referred her to the Managed Alcohol Program. After nearly a year of living in the shelter, a staff member told Suzanne that her stay at the shelter was coming to an end. But this time, it was because she was moving into a brand-new 42-bed supportive housing residence built right here in Ottawa – Shepherds of Good Hope’s new Montreal Road Residence.
“I felt like I had won the lottery. Once again, I had my own beautiful apartment, but this time, I had a community that accepted and supported me. I felt I was gaining back a part of myself that I had lost.”
Although, her journey is far from over, Suzanne is optimistic and for the first time in a while, is looking forward to tomorrow.
Success stories like Suzanne’s happen every day at Shepherds of Good Hope, but we need your support to make them a reality. Please donate so that more people, just like Suzanne, can have a permanent home of their own.