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JeanBrayUpon meeting Jean anyone will notice how bubbly and happy she is. She is quick with a smile and her eyes have a permanent twinkle in them.

Jean lives in one of the Ottawa Community Housing apartment communities where Options Bytown has a resource centre for those living in the building and requiring supports to live independently. The Housing Support Worker in the Options Bytown Resource Centre helps tenants on site who face challenges due to a history of homelessness, addictions, mental illness, poverty and other kinds of trauma. For well over 25 years Options Bytown has helped countless individuals to stay housed through their on-site support services.

Jean moved to Ottawa Community Housing 9 years ago. At that time, she was bitter, sullen and stuck in an anger fuelled from her past. She rarely made eye contact with anyone and she kept to herself.

Jean recounts learning as a young child that she was not wanted in her family. As she says, her homelife was miserable, Her parents had no interest in her or her brothers and mistreated them for years. Jean seemed especially targeted. She was the brunt of verbal abuse that cut deep emotional wounds. Early on, Jean was diagnosed with a learning disability and required extra educational support throughout school. She was reminded of her disability by her family time and time again and that caused her great emotional pain. She thought that she was stupid and undeserving of love.

 

When Jean left home, she tried to find the right kind of help for her to overcome the emotional trauma she had experienced from a young age. But, she did not find what she needed from various agencies and institutions for a long time. She wanted to feel as if she was equal to others, but without the supports to empower her to make that happen, Jean retreated into herself.

Fast forward 9 years, after living in her new home in the community. Jean is a different person. She participates in social activities. She laughs heartily at social events for tenants and she is a friend to many. She speaks about her past world not with anger but with peace.

Jean says this all came about due to the supports she received from Options Bytown staff who counselled her throughout her ups and downs. It took a great deal of patience and time working with Jean. She had to learn that her anger was really hurting herself and no one else. As long as she was angry she could not enjoy her life. With the prompting of the Housing Support Worker, Jean learned to be very open with her feelings. Slowly she was able to learn to trust those who proved that they cared about her, resulting in her increased ability to let her anger go.

Jean is speaking about her healingjourney with Options Bytown so that others will have hope. The Options Bytown staff are dedicated and compassionate and care a great deal for the clients and tenants they serve living throughout Ottawa and in Options Bytown apartment buildings.

Others just like Jean are being assisted daily; some participate in counselling, some receive one-on-one life-skills training and some work on employment readiness. Jean says she is one of the fortunate ones. She has reclaimed her life and is not looking back.

Won’t you consider a gift to Options Bytown to help people like Jean get a new start in life? Jean like so many others would not have hope unless others cared.

Your gift can make a difference.

Thank you for caring.


Lorraine Bentley
Executive Director
Options Bytown

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