Sandy Merriman House
Victoria, British Columbia

The program provides 25 shelter beds for women, meals, basic needs, crisis intervention, counseling, referrals, medication and general support. It is open throughout the day for drop-in services and for shelter stays of up to 30 days.

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Drop off Locations:
  • Rock Bay Landing, 535 Ellice Street, Victoria , Please drop off all gifts at the Rock Bay Landing shelter, 535 Ellice Street, Victoria (250-383-1951, jconnolly@coolaid.org), open 24 hours a day. Just let them know that it is for Homeless Partners. We need all gifts by noon on December 22nd at the latest. Please ensure gifts are labeled with the Assigned ID (that is posted with that individual).

Stories

11

Gifts

43

Pledged Gifts

30 of 43

This 31 year old Aboriginal / First Nations lady, originally from Ontario has been homeless on and off for the past 5 years. She said it is hard to explain what it felt like at age 25 when I slept out for the first time. Her circumstances at that time were she ran out of fuel for her car.
Her passion in life has been farming. She has worked in the service industry on and off, but farming and agriculture type jobs are what she would like to strive towards in her life. She would like to make a career out of this if she had a chance for more education in that field. If she could plant a garden and watch it grow this would bring her satisfaction. Like she said; I want to “set roots”.
Her overall feeling of what has contribute to her difficulties in life, is a unbalanced life. Finding stability and balance in her life is where she would like to be. Her happiness comes from her friendships and community family who give her lots of love contributing to her happiness.
If she could ask for prayers, she would ask you to pray for her health, happiness and wealth.
HER WISH LIST:
Phone card
Camping Gear gift card
Laptop/Tablet for research and networking

Wish List

Elaine is a 53-year-old female, originally from Victoria, and she has been homeless for 8 months. The first time she found herself homeless was in 2012.

Elaine struggles with feeling vulnerable as a woman with mental health struggles, worrying about her sons and their well-being, and with the difficulties she faces trying to find and secure low-income housing.

Elaine is a bright and dynamic woman, and she truly enjoyed the work she did with the elderly in home support, calling them cool and noting the incredible stories each person had. She could see herself being an advocate for people in residency disputes and for the homeless—she already has a wealth of legal knowledge and it is something she is deeply passionate about having faced challenges herself.

What makes Elaine happy? Knitting. She says with a laugh, “Yarn makes me deliriously happy. It’s how I fall into blissful denial.”

Elaine would like people to pray for peace in her life. She said she is truly tired, and if she had unlimited resources, she would take the time to just breathe and do arts and crafts without having to worry about moving every 30 days.

Wishlist:
Warm winter coat with a hood. Size: Medium. Gender: Female. Bonus: Fake fur!
Sewing machine
Yarn
For her son, Mark: kitchen gear, bathrobe

Wish List

**** please note - this is an alias as she does not want her name to appear anywhere. Her real name is on the Christmas Wish List form




Chloe is a 61 year old lady, born in Victoria, who has been homeless for 13 months. During the interview Chloe was very emotional. When asked what it was like the first time she had to sleep out, Chloe said, “It is unspeakable, you just can’t imagine it. Never did I imagine that I would be in this situation.”
Chloe had a catering business at one time, has worked in a bank, has done office work, and been a teaching assistant. She basically worked at anything she could to pay the bills and support her family. At one point, she quit work to care for oldest daughter who sustained a brain injury. Unfortunate circumstances have led to her being alienated from her 2 daughters. She recently became homeless when her home was sold and the rent raised too high for her to afford. She has an idea for a business involving architectural ceramics, if she were to get a home.
Contributing to her problems, Chloe struggles with vertigo. She contracted a virus which caused an infection in her middle ear. It can flare up at anytime and could potentially become chronic. Physio and accupuncture would help but it is very expensive.
Chloe says that being adopted into an abusive home, sexually, emotionally and physically has contributed to her current situation; but being homeless is just the hardest thing that she has ever experienced.
She says that doing something creative makes her happy; but she finds that most of her time is spent on just surviving. She is very grateful to the staff at Sandy Merriman who are in her words, “amazing, extraordinary”.
If Chloe had unlimited funds she would buy a home so that she would not be in jeopardy of losing it and would get her pets back. She would help others in the same position as she and educate others about what it is like to be homeless. People need to know what it is actually like and how they can help. She would also buy dog food and give it to people who are homeless with dogs.
Her prayer request is that she could be reunited with her 2 girls and have a place to live with her pets.

Wish List
Gift card at Munroe’s book store
Bus tickets

Wish List
  • Gift card at Munroe's book store

  • Bus tickets

Kim is a lovely young lady with some unfortunate health problems. She suffers from epilepsy and fibromylalgia and also Lupus. She currently has a broken hand from falling during an epileptic seizure. She is very sweet and feels very shocked that she has found herself for the first time in her life homeless. Kim was renting a condo when she was suddenly told it was going to be sold and she had no where else to go. She has slept in a A&W or McDonald's for shelter.
Kim used to work at Thrifties and would love to work there again. She has found it difficult to find work due to her illnesses, Kim really needs housing and is on a wait list for for specific housing. Kim is also having trouble with her eyesight and is seeing the doctor for her condition this week.
Kim tells me that she loves music from the 70's. She loves shopping and taking care of animals.
Christmas wishlist
Kim would love an laptop or tablet used or new. She would also love a warm winter coat and winter boots.

Wish List
  • laptop or tablet

  • warm winter coat size L

  • warm winter boots size 7

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Debbie is a fifty-eight year old, caucasian woman, from Manitoba but has mostly grown up in British Columbia. She has been homeless for 3 months now. She was with an abusive partner and just when she was finally able to see how she was being abused, she was evicted from her home of 9 years in Sooke. She was told that she just had one hour to pack a bag, as if she were going away for the weekend. “How do I leave behind all of my belongings just like that?” she said. It was the worst experience to have to do that; everything was taken and in becoming homeless, she thought she landed in hell. The service that is the most difficulty finding is housing. What has contributed most to her difficulties has been trying to stay with an abusive partner and the hardest part is being homeless and medical problems.

Previous work that Debbie has done has been accounting and being a peace officer. She enjoyed being a peace officer and loves to help others. She also has done mental health and addictions and volunteered as an out reached at Our Place. She described that to be the craziest part on how the table has shifted in her life and now she is the person that needs help. That’s something that is hard to accept but God must have a reason for her experiences, even though knowing that does not make it easier. She has a half sister that lives in BC and would love to get in contact with her

What makes her happy is laughter, a good book, and a big comfy/cozy blanket. What’s going well is being away from the abuse. If she had limited resources she would ride horse back anywhere through the country (warm Arizona). She would love for people to pray for her to have a home, for health, and for her sanity.

Her Wish-list:
o Blanket/Comforter
o Warm winter coat: size Medium (neutral colour)
o Gift card to CHAPTERS where she could get books and clothes

Wish List
  • Blanket/Comforter

  • Warm winter coat: size Medium (neutral colour)

    Pledge This Gift
  • Gift card to CHAPTERS where she could get books and clothes

Christine was born in Ontario and has been in BC for 30 years. She has 2 grown daughters, one in Sooke and the other in Abbotsford. She tells me that the cause of her homelessness is that she allowed her brother to move in with her and he started trafficking from her apartment. She has been without a home for two years. She has mental health problems that she is trying to control.
Christine has training as a chef and has worked in restaurants, also the post office and in customer service jobs. She loves painting with acrylics. She would appreciate prayers for her children.
She would love a place of her own.

Wish List

At the age of 50, this Caucasian lady from Victoria, BC has been homeless for 3 months. When asked, “What was it like the first time you slept out?” she could not answer. I felt her none answer said a lot of what she was dealing with and was painful to express. Becoming homeless was very new to her and she's been trying to deal with this change in her life.
She shared with me that she left a abusive, alcoholic spouse and was moving on to new life at 50 years old. She worked as a waitress and enjoy the service industry and would like to stay in that industry. The abusive relationship she endured has been very hard and has contribute to most of her difficulties. She would be very happy to have a job again and find a place to live so she can have her cat back. Finding stability in her life and a job she enjoys is most important to her.
Asking her what makes her happy. She said, having a home and job again with her cat is what she is focusing on mostly.
If she could ask for prayers, she would ask you to pray that she gets her cat back in her arms again... her cat is probably missing her cuddles too.
WISH LIST:
Bus passes, would help her in finding a job
Warm footwear, she wear size 6 ½
Backpack

Wish List
  • Bus pass

  • warm footwear size 6 1/2

  • backpack

Deleia is new to being Homeless and spending her first night at Sandy Merriman. She speaks English and the most diffculty and help she needs is housing.

1.Deleia lives in Victoria.

2. She is very concerned about where she will find housing and has strained family relationships and had to leave present family home.

3.She presently has full time work and this job has provided a positive atmosphere and stability as she considers the staff like family and very comfortable working there.

4. She has left home as a difficult family home environment.

5. Music is the one thing that makes her feel happy and at peace and also hanging out with friends.

6. Her dream would be to see Paul McCartney or Elton John in concert.

7. Please pray that she finds housing and also for anxiety/depression disorder. She would like prayer for better family relationships and that she would reconcile with her brother.

Wish List
  • Wool socks

  • backpack

  • gift card to Walmart to get food and/or clothing

Lisa is a 40 year old woman who is originally from Saskatoon. She has been homeless for about 7 months. She says, “It was really scary being out on the street.” Therefore, she spent all night in Tim Horton’s the first few nights. Unfortunately for her, she was taken in by a drug dealer who gave her a place to sleep, but as she says, “It was even scarier than being out on the street, but I had no other options.” Leading up to being homeless, she was in an abusive relationship. She was depressed and self-medicating.
Lisa has worked in home care and palliative care. She found it to be very draining and did not take care of herself. She quit her job due to mental health issues, depression and drug addiction.
If she were able to work, she would become an advocate for people in situations like herself. She says the hardest part of her life is the “social isolation. I just don’t feel like a person.”
Lisa used to enjoy going to the gym but it is not possible these days.
Lisa has osteoarthritis in both of her ankles and is in pain constantly for which she takes pain medication. She is unable to walk very far, but even though she tries to be hopeful she can’t see a way out from her problems. She would really like to get her specialty orthotics at Queen Alexander Centre. According to Lisa, they are ready to be picked up; but she does not have a way to get there or the money to purchase them.
If she had unlimited resources she would have a home so that she could enjoy privacy and feel safe. She dearly misses her cat, Smokey.

Wish List
Bus pass or tickets
Regional Recreational Pass
Her Specialty Orthotics @ Queen Alexander
Food: macadamia nuts

Wish List
  • Bus Pass or tickets

  • Regional Recreational Pass

  • Her specialty Orthotics @Queen Alexander

  • macadamia Nuts

I met Nance and Jules, a loving couple, after their first week of being homeless and following 6 weeks without an income. They had remained in their home until they were evicted for non-payment of rent. During the 2 weeks prior to eviction, Nance and Jules’ daily diet consisted of one egg each with bread sourced from the Salvation Army. Due to a combination of “stress and no food” they both have dropped 10 clothing sizes. Nance and Jules walked away from their home with what personal possessions they could carry, consciously including a tent. In fact, their first night of homelessness was spent in that tent in a friend’s yard. They were grateful to feel safe and warm although the events of the day also left them feeling stressed and scared. The following day they felt fortunate to be introduced to someone from Our Place Society who in turn connected them to Cool Aid Shelters.
Nance and Jules have lived together as a married couple for 22 years so it is a huge adjustment to be homeless and dwelling within a shelter but they truly appreciate that they are being “walked through how to get resources” by staff at the shelter.
Nance and Jules operated a home-based business so when they lost possession of their home they also lost possession of all the equipment necessary for their music business. Their dream is to recover from their homeless status: to own an outfitted recreational vehicle that enables them to travel while reaching out to people with original music. Please pray for this dream to become a reality.
Nance is a 62-year-old woman, originally from Ontario, who is passionate about music, gay rights and helping others. She is a singer, songwriter and on-line live performer. Her musical ambitions have never been driven by financial gain nor ego but rather to minister through music. A modest income was earned until sales declined during this past year. She attributes this decline to a combination of two factors: song writing about gay rights is not supported in the music world and the American election promoted disrespect for the Rainbow community. However, the pursuit of musical expression remains Nance’s goal. Her greatest happiness is singing and creating her own music.
Jules is a 56-year-old year old gender-neutral person, who was born in England and immigrated to Canada as a child with family. Jules has a quick wit and kept me smiling during this interview. Jules is proud and happy to be part of a lesbian couple that has stayed together for 22 years of marriage. Jules performs household duties, has provided computer support to the home business and suggests ideas for music. Jules strongly supports Nance’s pursuit of music “for the joy of it.” Jules is now experiencing a physical condition that prevents working. Application for disability pension will be investigated. At the end of our conversation Jules commented that she “chooses to speak with love,” which is exactly how Nance commenced her conversation with me!
Nance and Jules’ Christmas Wish List:
- good walking shoes, women’s size 8 med.-wide (i.e. Propet brand)
- guitar strings: D’ADDARIO EJ38-PhosphorBronze 12-String Light 10-47
- guitar tuner: Snark Clip-On Chromatic Tuner
- good walking shoes, men’s size 8 wide (i.e. Propet brand)
- gift card for clothing (i.e. Capital Iron, Mark’s Work Warehouse….)
- chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! (plain, milk or dark!)

Wish List
  • good walking shoes size 8 wide

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  • guitar strings

  • guitar tuner

  • good walking shoes mens size 8 wide

    Pledge This Gift
  • gift card for clothing @Capital Iron, Marks work warhouse

  • Chocolate plain or dark

Robyn is a thirty one year old, caucasian woman, and has been homeless for two months. She is originally from Nanaimo. The first time she slept out she was thirteen years old and found herself waking up high in random places, which she describes to be a very scary experience. She said that what has contributed to the most difficulties in her life has been family problems and the hardest part is depression and depression anxiety. The services that she said is the most difficult finding are housing and food.

Robyn enjoys kitchen work and turning over beds at hotels. What makes her the happiest is gardening and pool time. If she had unlimited resources she would love to do Kong Fu and go on a Retreat. Robyn’s smile brightens up a room and would love for others to pray for her to have a long life.

Her Wish-list:
o Warm footwear (running shoes): size 7
o Socks
o Warm winter coat: size small or medium
o Backpack
o BC transit buss pass
o Starbucks gift card or a gift card to the Bay Center (quicksilver gift card)

Her favorite colours are blue or grey and sunset colours (except for orange)

Wish List
  • warm foot wear size 7

    Pledge This Gift
  • Socks

  • Warm winter coat: size small or medium

    Pledge This Gift
  • Backpack

  • BC transit buss pass

  • Starbucks gift card or a gift card to the Bay Center (quicksilver gift card)