The real truth about homelessness, addiction and choice

Some people believe that homelessness and addiction are choices.  But Ken’s choice wasn’t what you might think.

Ken left his home town of Hamilton in 2006 and came to London to start over. He was trying to leave the tragedy and dysfunction of his family life behind him. He hoped that the new start would help with his addiction issues. He quickly found himself homeless, still battling with addiction and barely making it through each day.

Ken decided that he wanted to try to get better, and so he reached out to the Health Centre.

There, he found nurses to care for his day to day medical issues. He got a family doctor. And he built a relationship of trust with his social worker, Leanna. She was a constant voice of support and encouragement. For the first time in a very long time, Ken felt like he had someone who would be there for him no matter what.

Even with the support system around him, Ken ran into a recovery roadblock. Old warrants sent him to jail.  But while he was in jail, he made another important choice. He chose to keep trying.

And he did. He reconnected with his Health Centre support team and he went right back to working on his sobriety.

Soon, Ken moved into his own place, the same place that he’s living in today. He recently celebrated 5 years of being clean and sober, a tremendous achievement.

With this new life and new hope, Ken wants to start giving back. He’s now looking for volunteer opportunities that will allow him to pay forward the kindness and support he’s received.

And he has one message for anyone who is lost in their own life:

“Hope. That’s what I want to tell them. There’s hope. But you have to want to make the changes. That’s what Leanna and everybody at LIHC helped me understand: I’m responsible for where I am today. They helped me get here, but I had to choose to get better.”