Picture2Juan says he will never forget The Ottawa Mission.

When he arrived at our front door last February, he was desperate, alone and hungry. The soft-spoken 66 year old man had lived with his adult daughter for many years until she suddenly passed away. He started looking for work to support himself, but at his age he says that many employers weren’t returning his calls. Juan had no one to turn to and nowhere to live.

Juan has lived in Canada for almost 20 years but Spanish is his first language, and communication with government agencies to find out how to get help was not easy for him. As a result, when he came to The Mission he had no support and absolutely no money.

He tells the story of pulling his lone suitcase through the snow as he made his way to The Mission – he hadn’t been here before and wasn’t really sure of the directions. When someone asked him why he didn’t take a taxi, Juan explained that he had no money. He says God was watching over him, because the man gave him $20 for cab fare.

Once he arrived, Juan connected with Jennifer (pictured), a Case Manager for our Housing Diversion program. She helped him navigate the government bureaucracy to get the support he needed and, in June, Juan moved into his own one bedroom apartment in a seniors’ building. What’s more, he says a very good friend of his named Andrew lives in the same building and he doesn’t feel alone anymore.

Juan couldn’t imagine that just a few months after arriving at The Mission he’d have his own apartment and all the help to get furniture, dishes and the like for his new home. He says he thanks the Lord for the food in front of him every day and also for Jennifer, The Mission, and all the donors that support it.

Juan has found his safe haven.