The following case is a reminder to all of us that homelessness does not discriminate between race, age, nationality or gender. It clearly displays how homelessness can happen to anyone and is often the result of a sequence of unfortunate circumstances.
Jane, Adrian, and their little precious daughter Sandra joined us as residents at Dar Niki Cassar due to a fire which caused structural damages in their property. They were living in substandard accommodation and these damages were no fault of their own. In this one moment, this family became homeless, having lost their possessions and their independence. Having no one that they could turn to for support, their bond as a family was so important to them.
Because at Dar Niki Cassar we welcome families and due to our family rooms are able to offer the option that families can remain together when they become homeless, we were able to offer this young family a place to live.
Becoming homeless for anyone is difficult but as a family, this poses even more struggles such as bringing up a child in a shared environment, having space to spend time as a family, etc. This family soon fit in and made their space their own. We helped them to integrate with the rest of our residents and this small family soon became a central part of our bigger DNC family.
Moments when the family was struggling with their reality in a shared setting, we created space for the couple to have quiet meals together, and with the activities organized in the shelter for the children, we were able to relieve Adrian and Jane a little to also give them some quiet time.
During their time with us, Adrian was able to work full time and would return after a hard day of work to spend time with his family. This gave the family time to save money, with little outgoings, so that they would soon be in a position to move on to independent living again. In the meantime we helped the family with schooling arrangements for Sandra, they all had individual support sessions as well as family sessions and we helped them with donations of food and new school stuff for Sandra so that they could save as much as possible. Their smiles filled the shelter and waving little Sandra off to school every morning was a treat for the team, as she was always so happy.
Whilst working with the family and when they had saved enough, we started to help them to look for an apartment to live. When the day came that they were going to move out, it was an emotional day for all of the team and residents who were so happy that this young family had rebuilt their life and were able to continue living it as they deserved. We were, however, all going to miss them and we still do very much.
They are doing very well and we still help out with bags of food, toys for Sandra, and even small treats like Easter eggs. Jane sometimes comes to see us all when she takes Sandra to school and we often call to see that they are not in need of anything. They remain part of our DNC extended family.
Dar Niki Cassar is a YMCA residential facility for homeless individuals, families, and children experiencing homelessness and rooflessness. Visit the YMCA Malta website for more information about their services. You may send a blank message on 50619212 for a donation of €11.65.
This is part of a series of blogs by YMCA Malta called Homeless but Hopeful
*Not their real names