Sasha’s Story is an 8 part series running until December 24. To listen to the audio backgrounder from CHRI radio, click Episode #4 Reaching Out for Help
I first heard about OIM from people on the streets. They told me I should go to Ottawa Ministries and these people would help me out. The next thing I knew, I was camping out there. That’s how I met Sue their outreach worker. I was involved with Sue for a very long time.
I was working the streets at night and shooting up then, probably using $300 a day, and I didn’t have any place to sleep. They used to let me sleep at the office in the daytime. I’d be at the door at exactly 8 in the morning and I’d sleep until 4, until they closed the office.
At times some people forced me to work the streets and give them the money – in those days I took quite a few bad beatings! I can’t talk about that because it will put me in danger, even now. I was staying at this bad place, and Sue (outreach worker with OIM) used to bring food for me and another street worker.
OIM gave me clothes, food, they helped me with my apartment, even helped me with my money. They made sure my rent was paid and helped me get my diet food (HIV) and everything. They even had some of my money locked up until I needed it. Then I learned to have more control over things.
One big thing OIM helped me with was reading, because I can’t read or write. Sue and others at OIM would help me send letters when I had to, keep my personal information for me, and more.
Question: What do you think are the greatest needs of people on the streets?
Next Week: Building relationships and healing is not something that happens immediately – it takes time, commitment and perseverance. It is a long, sometimes hard, journey.