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Lightning fast; Berry’s doing amazing things after just six months in RISE

Berry knew they were going to lose their housing about a month before it happened.

They were subletting a room in an apartment with other students who had decided to move out. Berry tried following up on all the listings, but just couldn’t find a place they could afford. Because Berry is non-binary, they’re more likely to become victimized when experiencing homelessness. That meant it was extremely important for Berry to find safe shelter if they ended up with no where to go. Berry came to the YES Shelter for Youth and Families.

Berry’s family home wasn’t an option.

“I told myself, I’d rather be out on the streets than ever go back into that environment.” An environment that for Berry, resulted in CPTSD – Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Which led them to self medicate with alcohol, which led to alcohol addiction. Berry found some much needed support through YES.

When Berry first came to shelter, they were afraid.

“Maria did my intake, and I was visibly shaking.” But over time the staff got to know Berry, and understood what they needed to feel more comfortable. During their time in shelter, Berry was connected with mental health supports and got their diagnosis of CPTSD. And they also got on medication that started helping with their alcoholism.

Young people like Berry tend to need a program like RISE.

When Berry got a spot in the RISE Youth Housing Program a few months after arriving in shelter, more things started falling into place. Getting into supported housing “was definitely something that was uplifting, because I could finally have like, my own space and just breathe.”

And that’s just it. RISE allows young people to take a breath. It means they’re no longer in survival mode, but can recover and start to grow again. After a while in RISE, we see young people starting to get excited about their futures, and really start establishing goals.

When a young person gets a spot in the RISE Youth Housing Program, they have a space of their own, but also intensive support from YES Staff. Ideally, they feel safe and well, and are acquiring the life skills that will be important to the quality of their lives moving forward.

Berry’s already doing amazing things.

Berry’s had housing with RISE for about 6 months and is continuing to figure things out. Their worker, Catrina, has been helping them form a plan for the future. In April, they started in the Addictions and Mental Health Program at Fleming. “And my second goal,” Berry says, “is to just find some sort of, like, stability and balance in my life.”

Berry wants people to know that “no one wakes up and says, Hey! I want to be an addict today.” People have differing circumstances that can make life tougher for them, and sometimes the only way you know how to survive involves self-medicating. Berry works everyday to overcome their addiction, and it’s rarely easy. Although some days are harder than others.

The RISE Youth Housing Program is helping young people like Berry find safety and stability so they can continue to grow into healthy adults. Currently this program is entirely funded through people like you who care about young people that need this help. Please consider donating to YES to ensure that young people like Berry don’t end up experiencing chronic homelessness in Peterborough.