Shelley has had a long history of spousal abuse, addictions, and homelessness during her lifetime in outside of Edmonton. Not only does Shelley have a significant trauma history, she is also a residential school survivor. Her daughter brought her to Edmonton and to Sage after the last assault she experienced that left her badly injured. Upon completing an intake interview, Shelley moved into the Safe House. For nearly 20 years Shelley, who is in her early 60s, has lived without an income, has not filed income tax returns nor received any kind of financial assistance. She had never had a bank account nor had she ever rented a place on her own. Because her daughter, who, like most of her children, is a professional in Edmonton, kept Shelley’s identification safe and secure, this was one area she did not require support with.
Shelley was eager to start her new life in Edmonton close to her children, children who she, as she will happily and enthusiastically tell you, is very proud of. Shelley’s excitement with opening her first bank account was infectious for the Safe House coordinator as well as the teller at the Royal Bank. Shelley taught us all a great deal during her time with us. She shared her story of being a survivor of residential school as well as traditional knowledge. During her time at the Safe House she took particular interest in guiding the two Occupational Therapy students completing their practicum with us, students who valued and appreciated learning from her. Shelley met with and participated in talking circles with the Elder who comes to Safe House on a monthly basis and she became friends with many of the people in the shelter. She was able to get glasses and start the process for obtaining dentures. Once Shelley’s financial benefits were secured with Alberta Works, and 10 years of income tax forms were completed at Sage, the Safe House coordinator was able to support her in accessing affordable housing in a building for older adults.
Shelley applied for and received the Fleeing Abuse Benefit Shelley once her lease was signed and has moved into her own place where she has furniture and household items from FIND and she purchased a brand new bed for the first time in her life. Shelley still struggles with her addiction from time to time but she remains safely housed and is finally living a life free from abuse.