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Rebuilding life in Victoria

John has been through many ups and downs in his life, but the one constant is his love of building things. As a journeyman carpenter, he’s been creating everything from docks, to decks, to houses for over 40 years! 

John moved away from his home in Ontario several years ago in search of opportunities in the boomtown of Fort McMurray. “Fort Mac was a roller coaster,” says John. “It was going well. Then, it crashed and burned.” Literally. John witnessed his livelihood go up in flames during the devastating Fort McMurray fire of 2016, and he’s been working hard to get back on his feet ever since. 

John got flown out to Victoria, BC, for an interview with a recruiter. But unlike his job in Fort McMurray, this opportunity didn’t provide housing. Also, the pay was much lower than he’d been led to believe. John found a place to stay using what little savings he had, but after a week, his savings ran out, and he found himself homeless for the first time in his life. 

To make matters worse, John was forced to leave his job when the contractor refused to pay him what they’d promised. Suddenly, John was in an unfamiliar city, homeless and jobless. 

Thankfully, John found safe shelter and the support he needed at Victoria Cool Aid Society. He started at the Rock Bay Landing Shelter, where he got hot meals, a roof over his head, and help from a caring, supportive team. “They look after you very well and make you feel welcome,” John says. 

From the get-go, John was determined to get back on his feet. A few months ago, he moved to a room at the Next Steps Transitional Shelter, where he’s getting the support he needs to move forward in life. At Next Steps, clients like John get help finding jobs and homes, learn finance and life skills, and access physical and mental healthcare. 

“I’m going to make my room vacant for someone else who needs it soon,” John says with a smile. “I’m going to get out of the city. Find work. I’m going somewhere!” 

Thanks to support from people like you, John has gotten off of the streets so he can focus on rebuilding his life.

To help others like John, please consider donating to the Victoria Cool Aid Society. You can donate at or call (250) 383-1977 today!

Chatter from the UsedHQ. We're the number one Canadian online classifieds, passionate about keeping items out of landfills, preserving unique curiosities, crafting, upcycling, anything vintage and SAVING MONEY!

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