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  • Writer's pictureInterval House of Ottawa

Brianna's Journey (Part 3 of 3)

Read part one or part two

Previously, we heard about how Brianna left an abusive relationship with Ryan and escaped to IHO with her infant son, Jackson. At IHO, they began to heal from their trauma and are preparing to move out of the shelter.

Soon after I arrived at IHO, I met Nora, the Transitional & Housing Support Worker. She would help me find housing outside of IHO. She told me about the Social Housing Registry for subsidized housing. Sometimes it’s possible to get priority status for housing when you are leaving abuse. She helped me fill out an application and sat with me during my interview. I was so thankful when Nora told me I received priority status! It would help me to move out of the shelter and into something I could afford.

While I was waiting for a housing offer, I continued to heal from the trauma of abuse. It took time. After about two months and lots of support, I started thinking about the future. It was around that time the Registry called to say I had an offer!

Nora came with me to look at the apartment. It wasn’t fancy, but I loved it! It had everything I needed. Jackson and I could finally have our own place, without abuse. But I noticed that one of the bedroom windows had a broken window screen. I was worried that it was unsafe for Jackson.

In the past, I wouldn’t have said anything, but now I felt more confident to speak up for myself. I told Nora about my concerns, and she helped me practice what I would say to the maintenance department. I made the call myself, and they agreed to fix the screen before we moved in. I felt so powerful!

There was a lot to do to prepare to move to my own place. Heather helped me make a list so I didn’t get overwhelmed. I set up my hydro, internet and everything by myself. I can’t believe Jackson and I will have a place that’s all ours. Just before I left IHO, Lisa told me about schools and activities for Jackson near my new place. Heather gave me a book of resources in my neighbourhood like recreation, libraries, and other services I might need. It's exciting, but it's also scary. Heather told me I could still call her for six months after I move, and after that Nora is always there. It helps to know I have people to call if I need support.

I’ve never lived on my own before. Moving is exciting, and also scary. But any fear I have now is nothing like living in the fear of abuse. Leaving Ryan was the scariest thing I've ever done, but I'm so happy I did it. I don’t know how I could have healed without help from everyone at IHO. Jackson and I have so much now that wasn’t possible before, and I am confident that we’re ready to start new lives without abuse.

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