Crosswalk shelter became a turning point for homeless man
February 14th, 2013
A fluke, fate, destiny... call it what you may, Michael’s life took a turn for the better the night he met a Salvation Army shelter worker.
“I was standing at the corner of Main and Cordova,” he recalled. “I’d been in Vancouver about 10 days, living on the streets and going to food lines. I didn’t know where the shelters were. This person approached me and told me about The Salvation Army’s Crosswalk shelter and I was able to sleep there overnight.”
That one night made a lifetime’s difference. Michael, who had gone through detox and rehab before coming to Vancouver, was lost and alone in a strange city. Through the supports he accessed at Salvation Army shelters and transitional housing, he was able to rebuild his life.
“The staff treated me with respect and dignity. At first, I didn’t want to do anything; they gave me time to get my bearings and deal with my demons. I started attending recovery meetings and volunteering. I was able to move to Belkin House where I took the Personal Development Plan Program and started working towards my goals. I slowly became more responsible: getting a job; a social life; and reintegrating into society.”
The Crosswalk shelter recently relocated to a renovated building where it continues to provide a safe and warm place for street homeless men and women to seek shelter during the evenings. Michael was on hand for the opening.
“I’m married now, going to school, and working towards a degree in social work,” he said. “I’m also working at the Beacon and Haven shelters. It doesn’t even feel like work or like I’m giving back. I still feel like I’m getting more out of it than I’m putting into it. I’ve always felt at home there – whether as a client or a worker. I hope I will continue to work in this field as I feel it’s the kind of work I’m best suited for.”