E4C A Godsend for Housing Those With Special Needs
Living with a mental illness can be a very difficult thing. One of the most essential aspects of recovery from it is proper housing. I can honestly say that finding a home in McCauley which was supported by the Edmonton City Centre Church Corporation (E4C) has saved my life.
When I first got out of the hospital years ago after being “on the inside” for two months, finding a place to live was something very different. At first I had hoped to keep living with my parents, but realistically, this was not practical at all. I had to find a place I could afford, that I was comfortable with and that allowed me to continue with doctor’s visits and get myself supplies of my medications. This proved nearly impossible.
At first, I found a bachelor suite and had no money for entertainment, and ended up spending most of my time watching TV and smoking cigarettes. Not long after I got there, without the support I have now added to the loneliness of living by myself, I stopped taking my medications, made a series of unwise decisions, and soon was back in the system again.
Living in the project run by the E4C called Meadow’s Lodge means that first of all, my rent is subsidized, which leaves me room to buy things for comfort like books and bus passes and even the computer I am using to write this story. Living here also means I get support for my condition by trained staff, monitoring of my medications, and something I feel is extremely important: a sense of community. I have lived in McCauley since 2002 and I have made a lot of close friends, but something even more essential exists in that sense of community. Everyone who is a resident in my project is dealing with a mental health issue. This means that not only do we understand each other’s position in society, but also that we help and support each other.
As an example of this support, last month I lost my bus pass just two days after the December bus passes came into effect. My roommate, when he could, would lend me his, and one day he couldn’t and I asked someone from another house if they had a bus pass I could borrow and instead they gave me $20 worth of bottles to take in to buy bus tickets with. And I can’t say enough about the great staff here, especially the project manager Pearl Robinson who has a rule: she will not give residents anything less in the way of standard of living and food than she will give her own family.
E4C does a great deal of good in McCauley, from running several group home projects to a number of housing apartments for those with physical challenges. I simply don’t know what I would have done without them, and I hope they can continue their good work for years to come.
Leif is a writer in McCauley.