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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

White Rock breaks temperature record

B.C. city was the hottest in all of Canada

South Surrey church members ‘praying for accused mother… for the whole process’

Lisa Batstone’s second-degree murder trial continues this week in B.C. Supreme Court

City will ask Fraser Health to remove pay parking at SMH, Surrey councillor says

Surrey’s new council has already made parking free on neighbouring city streets

VIDEO: Health and Technology District breaks ground on new building

City Centre 3 is the third of eight planned buildings: Lark Group

Spawning salmon returning to North Delta’s Cougar Creek

It’s early in the season, but the streamkeepers are hopeful it could be a good year for returns

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

1 woman dead, man in hospital after ‘suspicious’ crash: police

Homicide investigators and Burnaby RCMP are investigating the fatal collision

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Most Read