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Imagine a childhood marked by family instability, abuse and years in foster care. For Joel this was a sad reality.

By the age of 16, when Joel took to the streets, he had been through a lot. Even though his most recent foster home had been a good one, the years had taken their toll. But Joel wasn’t prepared to build a life on his own at such a young age, and he fell into addiction.

Joel spent many years in and out of shelters – including stays at The Ottawa Mission. It wasn’t until two years ago, now in his mid-forties, that he decided he really wanted – and needed – to make some major changes. He knew The Mission well by now, so he came to us for help.

Joel has since completed 3 months in our Stabilization unit, and 5 months in LifeHouse – our residential treatment program. He also spent about a year in one of our second stage transitional homes.

When it was time to move on, Joel worked with our housing support team who helped him find and furnish a bachelor apartment. Joel has now been living in his own place for more than four months, and he couldn’t be happier. He shares his apartment with a good companion – a cat named Molly – and, as he continues his recovery, he looks forward to returning to work in restaurant kitchen construction.

A wonderful footnote to Joel’s story is that he has reconnected with the foster mom who has been looking for him for over 30 years, and he is also rebuilding some family relationships that he thought were broken forever. He is also grateful for the ongoing support of his wife Linda. The final word goes to Joel – “I was hungry for a good life, and I’m on my way to achieving it. I finally have something to look forward to – I have hope.”

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