In-home assistance participant
Louis-Olivier , 35 years old
He didn't choose to be homeless.
I wasn’t born on the street. I grew up in a traditional family. My parents had good jobs. I always had what I needed. I was into sports. In high school, I was in a sports-study program. I did well in hockey and baseball. I was really popular with the other students. I loved playing. Sports were my life.
Everything unravelled after a knee injury. I couldn’t play hockey like I had before. I was pissed…at life. I dropped all my sports-study friends to hang out with other people at the school who were part of a street gang.
About this same time, I also met a guy who had just gotten out of prison who showed me the ropes: drug trafficking, business protection, theft. I quickly found a new passion: making money quickly. I ran with this crowd for two years without doing too many drugs. I used occasionally, but it wasn’t a problem.
But that didn’t last. At around 20, I got addicted to coke. The game changed because all my money went to that. That was a downward spiral for five years. Every day, I had to find the money I needed to get high. I did everything. I even stole from people in my family.
At 27, I decided that this had to stop. I started studying again and completed a DVS in plumbing and heating. But I was still using and I wasn’t really motivated.
Then I met a woman who had children. Those kids saved my life. I loved them and I knew that they relied on me. So I got myself together for them. I stopped using after a treatment program at Dollard-Cormier.
But the relationship I had with their mother was unhealthy. I stayed because of the kids. I was attached to them. They said “Don’t go, Loulou.”
Finally, I had to make a choice. I had to choose myself. I had to push away everyone around me to get myself out. It’s the hardest thing to do. Breaking relationships with people you love.
I ended up on the street alone. Someone had told me about Maison du Père, but I didn’t want to go there. I had prejudices about homeless people. I wasn’t one of them. I was afraid and embarrassed. But I didn’t have the choice to go there.
When I met guys on the street, my viewpoint changed. Yes, there are some who kind of chose that life, but easily the majority didn’t. Some have mental health problems, others have drug problems they can’t get away from.
It’s tough to take the first step. You’re scared of judgement. You tell yourself that you can make it on your own, but things just get worse.
I can never thank Maison du Père enough. Now I’m in their social reintegration program. It’s amazing what they did for me. They renewed my identity cards and helped me request social assistance and sign up for school. These seem like easy things but they aren’t when you live on the street and you don’t have an address.
At Maison du Père, things are clean, the staff are kind. It’s a good place.
I just finished my Secondary School Diploma and I registered at a CEGEP to start a delinquency intervention program in September. I’ve hurt so many people that what I want to do now is help. I’ve gone down this whole path in six months thanks to support from Maison du Père.
Thank you to everyone who supports their mission,
because every street should have an exit…