“We’re Not That Different”


Mark* is getting the help he needs to begin again, through

“Get a job, you loser.”

Mark* still remembers how it felt when an angry man hurled this insult at him as he was getting ready to sleep in his car.

The reality was Mark was working at the time – he just didn’t have anywhere else to go.

The sad truth is that so many people are quick to judge people like Mark.

Mark has been struggling with homelessness for the past year and is trying to find a way forward.

“I just want to have some peace and a safe place to lay my head. I want people to see me and realize we’re not that different.”

He’s not alone.

Mark is one of 100 men getting help through our ShelterCare program – a 24/7 shelter with on-site health care, mental health, and addiction supports. Here, men like Mark are getting a chance to leave homelessness behind for good, thanks to you.

But every time someone leaves ShelterCare for a permanent home, someone else takes his place.

There seems to be no end to the number of people in our community who are homeless. And they all desperately need your help.

“People don’t realize how close they are to where I am now. Some people are just one crisis away from disaster,” said Mark.

In the past, Mark would often turn to drugs and alcohol to escape his problems, including a broken relationship with his mom. But he actively sought help throughout his life, and has always found a way to work.

But these last two years have been extremely challenging. Mark’s father died, and his long-term relationship ended. Mark needed a place to stay, and moved back in with his mom, hoping to reconnect.

“We got along at first. Then COVID hit, and we just couldn’t handle being cooped up in the same house. I also struggled to get along with my mom’s new husband, who mocked my plans to go back to school and start my own business.”

Mark couldn’t stay there anymore, but finding a place he could afford on his own wasn’t easy.

That’s how he ended up in his car, trying to survive. Mark stayed there as long as he could, until the car stopped working, and he couldn’t afford to fix it or even tow it. He had to sell it, and moved into shelter earlier this year.

But in ShelterCare, Mark has found more than simply a place to stay. He regularly meets with the on-site addiction counsellor, who has an office just down the hall from his room. He also has a support worker who helps keep him on track so he doesn’t miss appointments, like replacing his ID.

This kind of 24/7 care is only possible because of your compassionate, generous support. And for Mark, having you there means so much.

“Do you know what a difference it makes for me to know that someone cares? I don’t even like to think about where my life would be if I couldn’t stay here.”

You are helping Mark get a fresh start, and find the strength to begin again!


Your generosity can help change lives like Mark’s. With your gift, you are providing 24/7 care and support to men experiencing homelessness in Waterloo Region, including on-site healthcare, addiction and housing supports. Your gift today can help men like Mark exit the cycle of homelessness for good! To donate, visit www.houseoffriendship.org/supportmark, or call 519-742-8327 x 131.

*Mark’s name has been changed to preserve his privacy.

Posted on: November 17th, 2023

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