“Becoming homeless was really stressful. The first time I really didn’t have anywhere to stay, I spent the night on the shores of a lake in my neighbourhood. I didn’t know what else to do.
It started when I was 15—I was removed from my family home by the police when things got really bad one day. I ended up doing a lot of couch surfing, but thankfully, I only spent a few nights outside.
Things didn’t get better when I graduated from high school; they actually got worse. I was still angry and hurt. I ended up hitchhiking across the country, getting into drugs and living on the streets.
But in 2015, I was offered the chance to go home and get clean. A few months later, I was accepted into a United Way-supported transitional housing program for men recovering from addiction.
There were a lot of very strict rules, but I was being held accountable—maybe for the first time ever. I started doing everything I could do to avoid falling back into old habits, like volunteering at a community garden.