How We Help: Real Life Stories

Below you'll find links to real life stories that have been helped by Homes First.

Tyyra grew up in the Beaches and life at home was tough.  Tyyra’s mother battled alcoholism and as one of only two African Americans in her high school, she felt like she didn’t belong.  Read her full story.

Walk down King St. on Saturday night and you probably hear Terry busking with his blues harp or guitar. At fourteen, Terry picked up a guitar for the first time. Not long after, he also picked up a drug habit. His neighbour, Tony’s, bedroom walls are painted in dark blues, pastel purples, and strong oranges. “Painting helps me sort out my mixed-up thoughts,” Tony says. Read their full story.

After 20 years struggling to survive on the streets, Edward now lives at Jarvis House, a Homes First property serving 24 older men, many battling alcoholism. “This is the longest I’ve ever stayed anywhere,” Edward says as he shows me around the living room he shares with three other men, all former Seaton House residents like himself. Read his full story.

Sherry, also known as Wanda, grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba as Sheryl Anne Noonan. Sherry was always a kind, gentle soul with a great talent for the visual arts. At the age of 26 she had a nervous breakdown and struggled with her mental health from that point on. She was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Read her full story.
Always one with itchy feet, Kyla spent her life moving from city to city across Canada. By the time she was 27, she had lived in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. “But then I had a bad stroke. That’s why I’m not working now. I have to use my scooter to get around.” Read her full story.
In the warmer weather you’ll find Martha with her hands in the dirt. She was first to join the rooftop garden program last summer and kept the plants alive indoors this chilly winter. But now Martha sits on the bench in front of me, nervously tugging on her chiffon scarf. Read her full story.

Originally from Brampton, Alexis had a tumultuous childhood, checkered with an eating disorder and substance use. The small town couldn’t offer the support Alexis needed to work through her struggles, so she spent a lot of time in Toronto attending therapy. Read the full story.


Michael was 23 years old when he moved to Toronto from Brockville. Stepping off the bus, he went straight to Dixon Hall. He was a troubled teen with a carefree attitude, but came from a good family. Read the full story


Wendy is a 20-year resident of Bellevue, one of the 13 housing sites operated by Homes First.  She is admired and respected by staff, residents and volunteers for her kindness, determination and for her years of service on the Homes First Board of Directors. Read the full story

Lorrie-Anne Lorrie-Anne grew up in PEI but it wasn’t the childhood of L. M. Montgomery stories. Lorrie-Anne’s mother separated from her father when she was a baby. She struggled with mental health for years. Read the full story
 Photo of Helen Helen lives at Savards. Savards is a 30-bed Homes First shelter for women with a long history of homelessness, mental health issues and substance use. At 26 Helen was a single parent with two young children. Read the full story

Red Roof Blog

Franklin's Journey

December 17, 2019
By: Homes First Staff
Franklin fled Nigeria due to threats on his life. Now, he's at Homes First's Willowdale Welcome...

Request for Proposals

November 20, 2019
By: Homes First Staff
Homes First is requesting proposals from qualified applicants to provide organizational review...

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