Girl with her dog with the reflection of the sky in the background

Lifting herself out of homelessness – Hailey’s Story

Posted on September 22, 2021 in Current News, Client Stories

When Hailey* had to leave home late one winter night, at first she was really angry, and then she became really scared. She came directly to the YES Emergency Shelter. “There was nowhere else to go,” says Hailey.

Hailey’s the type of person who spent a lot of her time in the library when she was in high school. There or the wood shop. An extremely sweet introvert, Hailey loves creating art, practicing photography, listening to r&b, but mostly, she loves animals.

Her quiet sweetness makes it hard to imagine how and why Hailey ended up homeless as a teen, but she did.

From Emergency Shelter, Hailey made it into YES’ RISE Youth Housing Program, where she stayed for three years. She enjoyed her quiet time, worked on healing, and took part in every art activity offered. She became a talented photographer, and worked towards her dream of taking care of animals for a living by re-connecting with extended family and going to help out on their farm.

In the RISE Youth Housing Program, Hailey didn’t have to worry about staying safe anymore. She had everything she needed to thrive. This allowed her to dream about her future.

The quicker young people experiencing homelessness enter into transitional housing like the RISE Youth Housing program, the greater the likelihood that they’ll be able to heal from their past, and grow into healthy and stable adults.

Eventually, with some significant recovery time in the RISE Program, Hailey was ready to take a step towards her dream. YES Staff supported her to apply to different Animal Care programs in Ontario. As she waited to hear back, she continued to bond with animals out on the farm. She became particularly close with the farm border collie, Gus.

Last Spring, Hailey found out she was accepted into the Animal Care Program at a nearby community college and she started there this September. Despite all that she’s experienced, Hailey was able to lift herself out of homelessness and become a college student. Hailey turned her dream into a reality.

Without the YES Emergency Shelter and RISE Youth Housing Program, Hailey and hundreds of other young people, would have been far more likely to remain homeless into adulthood. Instead, they were given the support needed to recover and stabilize.

You can give stability and safety to youth who are experiencing homelessness in time for winter by donating today. Your help will ensure young people like Hailey have every chance to succeed.

*Hailey’s name and identity have been changed to protect her privacy.