Overcoming homelessness to help others

Travis went from experiencing homelessness to studying at university. Now, he’s helping others get their lives on track.

Travis was only 15 when he was removed from his home by the police. After high school, things took a turn for the worse, and quickly. He started using drugs and hitchhiking across the country. Soon he was homeless and felt worthless.

“Becoming homeless was really stressful,” Travis says. “The first time I really didn’t have anywhere to stay, I spent the night on the shores of a lake in my neighbourhood. I didn’t know what else to do.” For three years, he lived under a bridge.

Thankfully, his story doesn’t end there. When Travis was accepted into a United Way supported housing program; he took the opportunity to get clean. It wasn’t easy. Travis had to change his habits and patterns so he took up hobbies like vegetable gardening to keep him on the right track. “There were a lot of very strict rules, but I was being held accountable—maybe for the first time ever”

Now, Travis is studying computer science at university and he’s also working part-time at a homeless shelter. He relates to the people there, because he’s been there.

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When I was at my worst, I would walk down the street and people would pretend I wasn’t there. Nowadays, people cross the street just to say hi,” Travis says. “It’s been a very fulfilling experience.

He knows he wouldn’t be able to help anyone else if he hadn’t received support from the programs that helped him.

“I want people like me to know it can get better,” Travis says. “There are always going to be people there for you—you just have to open up and allow them in.”

A photo of Travis


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