Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked.  Psalm 82: 3-4

We all have a story

Our Advocacy Program provides a platform for those without a voice to share their stories.  To be seen and heard in a world where they may often be passed by. Thank you for listening. 

Names have been changed for security. We understand that we live in a small community and that these stories are delicate. We seek to honour the stories of those who have shared and ask that you view them with reverence to the weight many in our community carry. 

Len's Story

L: Good thing I shaved this morning! I wasn’t gonna shave for a while

MB: Laughter: What’s your name?

L: Len from the Ochapowace First Nation.

MB: What brought you to Regina?

L: I was born and raised here.

MB: You have family here?

L: Yeah, sisters. One sister, the other sister deceased back in 2010

MB: What happened?

L: Just smoked too much.

MB: You have a place right now?

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L: Yeah a little rooming house, shared bathroom, shared kitchen. I was surprised. I was living in an apartment by myself, master suite for 650 and then I got fired and I couldn’t afford the 650 so uh, I went to social services and starting getting assistance and they put me on the TEA program (Temporary Employment Allowance). They didn’t give me enough to pay my rent, it was only $583. So I put as much towards the rent as I could. The landlord waited until I owed one month rent, then he evicted me. It was reasonable, I cleaned it up the best I could. And then this friend of mine told me about Recovery Manor. So he talked to this one guy and next thing I know I was looking at it, really happy cuz I could get off my friend’s couch. I was getting in his hair and he was getting in mine

MB: Laughter: That does happen when you are in close quarters like that

L: Ya, I wasn’t used to that, I was used to bein’ by myself.

MB: So do you have any work right now?

L: Nah, constantly searching everyday

MB: What did you used to do?

L: Maintenance. When I lost my license, it was my own stupidity. I need it back but it’s going to cost me some money. I went way down in debt, I didn’t know how I did. Just by having one drink.

MB: Tell me about your sign, what does that mean to you?

L: Jesus is the most amazing person to ever walk this work. He found me in the year 2000

MB: What happened in the year 2000?

L: He came into my life. I was hurting and something happened to me, I can’t explain it, you have to experience it for yourself. The Holy Spirit changed me.

Laura's Story

MB: Good to meet you, Do you call Regina home?

L: Yup. This is my home. I lived here most of my life. I lived on the reserve for a while. Had my family here. Got one brother, one sister. Still here. They all live in the city. I don’t have a big family. I was homeless a couple of years ago and even though my family is still in the city I didn’t bother with them. They would see me, they would take me home once in a while. But I would leave because I had addictions. I was an alcoholic. I had a rough life. And to this day I still live a rough life. Even though I live with my daughter and have my own home. I’m in and out of the hospital all the time cuz of my liver. Damaged, very damaged from alcohol. Sometimes I still go out drinking and I don’t know why but I do. 

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L: And when I do that I don’t go home, I live out on the streets. I have street friends out there that keep me safe. I’m not exactly alone and scared and whatnot. Not like the first time. I was crying. Scared. I had no place to stay. Sleeping out at night. Wintertime. That was no fun. Sleeping under a Christmas tree trying to stay warm. I’m slowly building up to where I want to be.

MB: It’s a slow process. I’m encouraged to hear you’re on your way

L: Yeah I was sick for a while. Like I had a walker. In pain. I could hardly walk. Even when I came here. Carmichael is a good place. It’s like a second home to me. I know everybody. Family, someone to talk to. They helped me find a place but my one friend screwed it up. And we got kicked out. He got me out of a good place and we were back on the street. I looked at him and was like, well are you going to help me find a home now. I was left all by myself then. And it was kind of hard to get back on my feet again. I just turned back into a drunk and I didn’t care. I got sick. I almost died. I ended up in ICU. My oldest didn’t like me when I was drinking. We are starting to get close again. My daughter is struggling cuz she has to raise three kids all by herself. She goes to work and she can’t make ends meet. Try to pay the power bill and this or that. I help out whatever I can, my little cheque of welfare I get. And I give it to her and I buy the food or whatever they need. I worry about my grandkids. As long as my grandkids have food and a shelter over their heads, that’s all I care. Sometimes they run out of food. Sometimes I have to go back out on the street and I panhandle. I have to swallow my pride and tell people that I’m hungry and I’m homeless and I have grandkids that need food. It takes me a while to ask people for money. It’s hard. It’s hard to live that kind of life. I’m not ashamed anymore. I have to do what I have to do to survive. And for my grandkids and my family.

A homeless woman in Regina Saskatchewan

Sarah's Story

MB: So tell me a bit of your story, have you always been in Regina?

S: Yeah I’ve been in Regina my whole life

MB: How old are your three kids?

S: 1,2, and 4

MB: So he (oldest) will be in school next year?

S: He’s already in school and he’s (pointing to second) will be in pre-school.

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MB: So how long have you been coming to Carmichael?

S: I’ve been coming here since I was 5 with my dad.

MB: Is your dad still in town?

S: He’s in jail.

MB: Any other family in town?

S: Yeah all my family.  I only have 2 grandmas and the rest are deceased.

MB: So is most of your day looking after these three? I can only imagine.

S: Yeah. We go for walks all the time. We walk to my aunties. She only lives 5 blocks away from us.  It’s just me and the kids.

Mike's Story

MB: Hey Mike, are you from here?

M: For 19 years I’ve been here.

MB: What brought you here in the first place?

M: Jail.

MB: When did you get out?

M: When I was 19.

MB: What have you been doing these last 19 years?

M: Living life. Partying.

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MB: How long have you been with Carmichael?

M: 5 years.

MB: Are they good folks?

M: They are. One big happy family.

MB: Do you have family around?

M: Yeah I do.

MB: Do you see them?

M: I really don’t bother my family.

MB: Do you have a place?

M: Yes I do. It’s an apartment which Carmichael helped me get. I’m by myself.

MB: When you’re not there where are you?

M: Here {Carmichael}. I volunteer. Work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

MB: What kind of work do you do?

M: I answer the door for the donations. Then I haul the stuff for the donations to the sorting room and then from the sorting room I put it up for the public. And I help with the housing team to house people and the moves. Help them move in and move out. Help them move into a new place

MB: that would be fun

M: It is fun. And see their emotions in their faces.

MB: Have you ever had to live on the street?

M: I did for two years. It’s tough. Especially in winter.

MB: What did you do to survive in the winter?

M: Find the warmest parkade ever. Hope security doesn’t kick you out.

MB: Do you mind if I take your photo?

M: Yeah (insert pose) .

Maybell Developments Regina portrait story project photo