“I’m never leaving!” That’s what Brooke said about her new apartment, so thankful to have it after years of struggling.
When Brooke was only 12 years old, she started drinking to escape her problems and the abuse she had experienced. During the next 9 years, she drank more and more and eventually found that the alcohol created more problems than it had solved. She knew she needed to stop, but it was difficult when all of her friends kept encouraging her to drink. Four years ago, her boyfriend was moving out to Alberta and she took that chance to go with him and get away from negative influences in her life. While the relationship didn’t work out and she returned to Welland within the year, she was finally sober. She started dating another man and had a child with him. When that relationship didn’t work out, she moved in with her mother. She knew it wasn’t a good environment for her and her daughter, with her mother’s alcohol use and lots of drama and disruptions in the home and neighbourhood, but she didn’t have many other options. She tried living with her adoptive mom but she drank alcohol too and knew she couldn’t be around that and stay sober. She tried living with friends, but it was never a long term solution. She wanted to move out and live in her own apartment, but every apartment she saw was far too expensive for her to afford on her low income.
Brooke first learned about the Open Arms Mission low income housing apartments when she helped her cousin, Melanie, move into one of our other units. When Melanie learned of an opening in the building, she told Brooke, who applied for the apartment right away.
Since Brooke moved into the apartment three months ago, she has been working hard to make it her own. She has painted, replaced flooring and is making it a good home for herself and her 10 month old daughter. She is thrilled to have a large, quiet, safe apartment for herself and her daughter. “I can’t believe I hear crickets at night!”
Brooke not only has a good home, but she has also renewed her relationship with God. Even though she attended church off and on since she was a teenager, before she moved into the apartments she would say “Thank God” when she walked away safe from a car accident or had some other good fortune, but she didn’t really mean it. “Since moving here, I say ‘Thank God’ and I really mean, ‘Thank you God.’” She started attending church regularly with one of her Christian neighbours. Brooke said “since moving here I have started really praying from the heart and reading God’s Word.” She also has been emboldened to share her faith with her friends and family.
“I love it here!” Brooke said, happy to have a good place to call home, “I never want to leave!”