Bibi was sponsored to immigrate to Canada four years ago. With no support after arriving, Bibi had to move into a youth shelter. From the shelter Bibi was referred to YSM’s Family Services to receive further support to address the multiple barriers: adequate housing, major health issues for herself and her young children, poor nutrition due to lack of regular meals, financial instability and concerns for her safety.
YSM’s Food Bank provided food and diapers as a first step. A plan of action was then developed. In collaboration with YSM Housing Services Bibi was able to access priority housing because of her safety and health issues and YSM Family Services connected her with a family doctor. Bibi worked with YSM to establish realistic goals and timelines to obtain her GED, attend parenting workshops, and receive training for financial literacy.
Bibi is eager to not be dependent on government social assistance and sees the need to complete her education, which would allow her to build better lives for her children. Bibi says, “My hope has been restored because of the support that YSM is providing.”
Any number of experiences can move a family in Toronto into a critical situation. Loss of a job or bread-winner, relationship breakdowns or mental health issues of a family member -all are potential experiences but are a huge blow to low income families. A discouraging number of single parent families or new immigrant families are entering shelters which only provides a very short term and harsh situation for a healthy family life. Other families new to Canada struggle with parenting in a different culture and understanding school systems, which often leave them feeling overwhelmed. Fathers who struggle to find meaningful employment often experience depression. As a result the family can experience trauma on any number of levels which only makes the situation more acute.