Ashlinn’s Story…Resident of Anne’s House

For the last eighteen months I have been living in government-subsidized social housing. Following an extended psychiatric in-patient stay, it was advised I live in community housing until I got back on my feet.

Centrally located around my school, grocery stores, pharmacy and more, Anne’s House seemed to be the perfect fit. Being a new building, and contractors putting finishing touches on the structure there was a wait to get in but I could tell from the moment that I met the director, Sheila Woodhouse, that this was indeed going to be the right thing for me. We bonded over the Pharmaprix Women’s 5K to raise funds for women in mental health that I was training for and I learned that likewise, Anne’s House had a team participating in the event.

I moved in on the first day Anne’s House was open, and for the first few months there was only a dozen of us in the building, which has a capacity to hold thirty women. There was a stark contrast to the energy from the previous unnamed shelter I had been staying at while waiting for Anne’s House to open. There was a key to my door so my belongings were safe and I had a warm, sunny studio apartment to call home.

The intervention workers are mostly young and understanding of our situations. They treat us with respect and I do wholeheartedly believe that in another life I I could have been friends with them. Living in social housing has relieved a huge financial burden, but it is mostly the relationships with other women and the staff that has been the most beneficial for me.

Struggling to find affordable housing and a mental wellness journey has given us common ground, but I have gotten to know these women in a whole other way. Hearing about family near and far, and even having the pleasure of getting to know some of these members personally has created lasting and valuable relationships.

A highlight for me this last year and a half has been spending time at camp with some of the other residents and staff. Living in a close-quarters cabin forced us out of our otherwise sequestered apartments and allowed us to get to know each other on a whole other level. Sharing stories, laughs, and playing games provided us memories to last a lifetime.

Community living has been an experience, and though the reason I ended up there was a less than ideal situation, Anne’s House has proved to be a supportive network to help me regain my footing. Although I am now thinking about moving on from this stage in my life and move to more independent living, I am so grateful Anne’s House was around for me when I needed it most.

With daily activities in the visual arts, music, yoga, community meals and more, there is a plethora of things to do and keep you involved with your fellow residents.

If you are looking for a low-cost living situation, and are contemplating community housing, I strongly recommend Anne’s House. Whether it be for short-term transitional housing or looking for along-term home, Anne’s House is sure to provide you with all you need for successful reintegration.

Anne’s House is and has been home for me and I have made a whole new extended family through them. It has been my pleasure to be part of the community.

Ashlinn