“My uncle passed away of COVID last year… then my dad. This year… It’s just hard.” Darlene talked about how hard it has been for her to be separated from her mother and adult children during the last 2 years. “I just want to be able to put my arms around my family, and see them face-to-face and have a coffee or something.” 

“It’s not easy. I cry every day and every night. My health is not that good. My husband’s health is not that good. I have 2 dogs at home to keep me going every day. I have 2 children at home to keep me going every day. Friends? It’s hard to make new friends because they will treat you wrong.”  

“I’m taking up knitting to keep my mind at ease. But sometimes that don’t help. Talking to people? I mean who do you talk to? I don’t know anybody. I don’t know who to go to and who not to go to.” 

“I’ve been here in Kitchener for 5 years. I was originally from Toronto. And then I moved to Brampton, and then from Mississauga to Scarborough. And now I’m here. It’s just rough living – emotionally and physically… it’s just hard.” 

When asked why she moved around a lot, Darlene replied, “Lots of fires. Twice. Two apartments. Two houses. Two house fires because the maintenance would not fix our fridge. I’m now going through the same thing. Trying to get maintenance to be done. Our house is infested with bugs. And it’s like, how can someone live like that? You can’t. They think a family can live like that with infestation and everything. But they want their money and that’s it. ‘Just give me the rent money.’ And now they’re upping rent to $1800. They’re trying to make it like a condominium… for a two bedroom apartment.” 

“I’m just trying to find a place that fits my budget. I hate it there. The people there are rough. My 12 year old son was shot with a BB gun. The police are investigating, but it’s taking a while.” 

“I’m trying to get on housing [subsidized housing] – can’t get on housing because of the wait list. I’m trying now to do my child tax and I can’t get that done. I haven’t gotten it for 6 months for my little child. He’s 12 years old. My baby. It’s crazy – this money matter. I only had enough to pay my rent. I didn’t have enough to say ‘Okay, here’s more money to do my taxes.”  

“I’m 52 years of age. Married for over 20 years. Long time. I’m just not going to lose my family for anything. My family is the number one reason I am here.”