FACING SURREY’S HOMELESS: ‘Everything is a struggle when you don’t have an address.’

Susan says she is not someone who would ever ask anyone for help.

For years she worked full-time at various jobs, and she was able to purchase a small home in North Surrey.

Then things cracked. Looking after her son, two nephews and her partner’s two children, Susan’s life became overwhelming. A longstanding mental health issue re-surfaced, and her world imploded.

“I just couldn’t do it anymore,” she says. “I packed my truck up with my clothes and my camping gear and I drove away.”

Her nephews had to be placed in government care and her adult son now lives on his own.

That was four years ago.

Suffering from symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result from abuse as a child and from an earlier relationship, Susan has been unable to work since.

With no money, she initially lived in her truck with her dog for six weeks, however she now spends most nights couching surfing at friends’ homes or staying with her mother in a fifth wheel in South Surrey.

“Looking back now, I don’t how I managed my life, looking after everyone else and not myself,” she says.

Trying to access transition housing has proven to be difficult with her small dog, but Susan has refused to get rid of her only companion.

“Everything is a struggle when you don’t have an address or transportation,” she says. “I don’t give up, but everywhere you go, they just give you another phone number. I don’t want to be on welfare. It’s nothing to be proud of. I want my life back.”

Having worked as a manager at a recovery home, Susan has seen many people caught in the same poverty spiral she now finds herself trapped in.

“People need to realize (the homeless are) not all addicts and when life kicks you down it kicks you hard.”

Susan is currently in counselling.

NO FIXED ADDRESS: Read the other stories in this Leader special report:

• The homeless: It might not be who you think

• ‘I honestly felt suicide was my only option.’

• ‘I literally have nowhere to go.’

• ‘We’re not drug freaks. We would just love a place to stay.’

• Pushed into despair – and onto the streets

• ‘Once I tried cocaine intravenously, I was done.’

• ‘Everything is a struggle when you don’t have an address.’

• The cost of caring: $7 billion in government services

• ‘ I lost my brother, my mother and my father.’

• ‘Sometimes I would even go to the airport and just pretend I was going somewhere and sleep.’

• Working the NightShift in Surrey

• The solution? In short, more housing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
UPDATE: Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
OUR VIEW: Lenient courts aren’t helping

It’s hard to fault the palpable frustration of Metro Vancouver Transit Police

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Diamond School in Surrey reporting COVID-19 exposure

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Renee
Bigger for 2020, online Surrey conference clicks with writers from around the world

Registrants from 17 countries for ‘SiWC At Home’ edition of the annual event

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Brody Peterson said he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Brody Peterson told The Gazette he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks RCMP recommend criminal charges after weekend party

Homeowner Brody Peterson said he’ll dispute tickets for refusing police instructions, alleged COVID violations

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast a ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP were called to an assault in the 23700-block of 110 Ave in Maple Ridge Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (Curtis Kreklau/Special to The News)
PHOTOS: Assault in Maple Ridge sends three men to hospital

RCMP were called to a residence Tuesday night

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

A black bear targets a bird feeder by the Rotary Trail along the Vedder River in Chilliwack on Oct. 7, 2020. (William Snow photo)
Public safety of residents cited as young bear euthanized in Chilliwack

Human-habituated bear was hanging around residential areas and bird feeders near the Vedder River

Most Read