Kate found herself in a situation she had never imagined. She was homeless and living in a car with her partner. She was also pregnant. There was always the promise that their situation would improve – and with a broken relationship in her own family, she held onto the hope that things would change and get better.
After giving birth without having a place to call home, Kate was sent to My Friend’s House where we welcomed her and her newborn with open arms. As we are only a shelter for women and children, Kate’s partner remained living in his car while she and baby stayed in shelter.
Our shelter provided Kate with a safe and comfortable space to adjust to motherhood. We were able to connect her with our in-house physician so that her baby was properly monitored post-birth. We also relied on our supportive community to donate and provide the necessities for her newborn baby – a bassinet, stroller, car seat and bathtub among other items.
While living at My Friend’s House, staff started to notice red flags around the relationship she was in. It was clear that Kate was holding many things back that were of concern to us. She was being controlled daily by her partner. He was getting her to leave shelter with the baby, while she was recovering postpartum, to spend time with him in his car. She was not allowed to speak with any of our staff team independently about care for herself or her baby.
After building a strong foundation of trust with Kate, she eventually opened up to our team with a breakthrough around what she was experiencing with her partner.
Our staff were able to assist Kate in securing monthly funding for housing and helped her rebuild the broken relationship with her family by mediating those conversations. Our Child & Youth Worker also supported Kate with parenting skills, post-natal self care, and providing counsel around her breakthrough at all hours.
Staff advocated to the Children’s Aid Society around what Kate was experiencing, especially when her partner began threatening her and stating he would ensure the baby was taken away. This was an incredibly scary situation for a new mom like Kate – but CAS was supportive and helped keep the peace.
Kate recognized that she had been manipulated and controlled for far too long. She was ultimately supported by staff to be safely removed from shelter and housed back with family members that supported and loved her – taking away any control that her abusive partner had over her.
If the team at My Friend’s House hadn’t met Kate and her infant, we would not have had the chance to intervene and educate Kate on how to properly care for her child. Because of My Friend’s House, Kate is rebuilding her relationship with her family and has a much better foundation for how healthy relationships should be.