I am so grateful to be back in my apartment. I just love it here. I lived in this subsidized apartment for nearly two years before I was wrongly evicted without just cause. The former building manager just gave me the eviction notice and there was nothing I could do. He wanted me out and I had no idea why. If only I had known then what I know now.
I was a cook for 30 years. I have for a long time suffered from Crohn’s, and Colitis. Then they found a tumour in my lung and it became cancer. The heat from the kitchen was too much on my lungs, so I had to apply for disability.
I was forced to live in rooming houses after my eviction. $375 isn’t even that affordable on my $600/month, but they were all I could find. The first one was full of black mold. The second one had people using needles in it – it was kind of freaky. It just wasn’t a good place. I would wake up in the night and they’d be eating my groceries. And I needed special groceries for my Crohn’s. But they had used their money for drugs.
Now I’m back and I’m safe and sound. I’m home. My neighbours all said that – “welcome home,” they said. It’s awesome. I’m on the board of the Seniors Roundtable and also I volunteer at the church. I help out as much as I can downtown, helping connect people with support workers. Some of the people I know, some of them I don’t. I call myself a stepping stone – I have all the phone numbers and I let them use my phone because many of them don’t have one. The places many of these people live aren’t safe – there are bed bugs and needles. Living here, I know that if I needed help, I could get it. I’m very lucky.
We live in a richly diverse community, but we sometimes don’t see the unique and beautiful individuals and families who live in Fredericton South. Many members of our community are overlooked, some are invisible, and sometimes they are Othered. In the coming months, I want to introduce you to some of our neighbours. They are us. You’ll find our Profiles series on our website starting with the members of our LGBTQ community and continuing this month with those living in poverty.