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Feb10WedA Salvation Army women's shelter in Montreal helped Janice take back control of her life. February 10, 2021 by Larisa Chis
Janice arrived at L’Abri d’espoir more than a year ago. Her journey to The Salvation Army’s Montreal women’s shelter to be where she is today required determination, support and help.
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To escape an abusive relationship, Janice moved to Quebec with her daughter as it was the safest place for both at the time. When they arrived in Montreal, her daughter found an apartment, but it was too small for both of them to live together. While Janice didn’t want her daughter to worry about her, she never thought she would be homeless and without a job. She did what she had to in order to make sure her daughter wouldn’t have to live on the streets.
Janice found out about The Salvation Army’s L’Abri d’espoir in a resource kit provided by Tracom, a non-profit organization that provides crisis intervention services and support. When she first arrived at L’Abri d’espoir, she was extremely anxious and cried as she was nervous about the future.
“The staff made me feel comfortable in my room, and I immediately felt that everything was going to be OK,” she explains.
On her journey to recovery, Janice faced multiple challenges. The main ones were both physical and psychological as she suffers from fibromyalgia and paralyzing anxiety.
“L’Abri d’espoir provided me with food, a bed, comfortable room, access to proper medication, but most importantly a routine and a calm place,” says Janice. “I could go for a walk in the park, swim in the pool and even ride a bike, things I was very thankful for.”
“I Can Manage”
When Janice was asked how she felt today after a year at L’Abri d’espoir, she said she was very content and proud of herself. “I can’t remember the last time I felt like this,” says Janice.
Janice now has a full-time job and is a member of the electricians’ union.
Being part of the union guarantees her hours, full benefits and the potential to work until she is 69 years old. Staying at L’Abri d’espoir also allowed Janice to support her daughter to get her bachelor’s degree in 2019.
Due to COVID-19, Janice is working full-time, but from her room at L’Abri d’espoir. She says that having a quiet room where she can work whenever she wants while being safe is very important.
L’Abri d’espoir’s long-term program is offered for a maximum stay of two years, so Janice took the next steps in her recovery. With her social worker’s help, Janice applied at La Maison Marguerite, an organization that helps women in need, where she got her own apartment this winter.
She’s proud of what she has accomplished.
“I can manage now,” says Janice. “I am very grateful to The Salvation Army and to God.”
Larisa Chis is the communications officer at The Salvation Army’s divisional headquarters in Montreal.
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