“I used to live in the town of El Mira. My father died on September 13, 2018 at Grand River Hospital. He died of cancer. I had come home that night after volunteering at St. John’s Kitchen and there was a note on the door saying ‘This is Pastor [—] Would you please contact us?’ And then he [pastor] came down to my house and told me that my father had died in the hospital. And that was a shock. I was expecting him to come home.” 

“So then fine. A couple days later, I got some papers from the trustee of my father’s estate. He gave me some papers to sign. I didn’t ask them what I was signing. But I signed the papers. [They] didn’t explain to me what I was signing. Nobody did. So I took a copy and went back to El Mira. I went to the bank to see the financial adviser and she told me ‘Why did you sign it?’ And I said, ‘Well they told me to sign it.’ Apparently, my father set up a mutual life bond or something. It was set up for $10,000 because I was the beneficiary. But on the paper I signed, I give the money to the lawyers. So they stinged me right there.” 

“Around May of 2019, I had two people give me a hand doing some clean up in the house. My trustee had told us to put stuff in boxes that you want and put your name on it. That’s what we did. I ended up taking 3 bags. That’s it. That’s all I could carry. I had clothes on my back and that was it. Then came June and that was the deadline.” 

“Now how would you like it if your trustee came up to you and said, ‘Now you’re homeless. Where are you going to live?’ That’s what he told me. Then he told me, ‘Once you leave this property, you can’t come back on it or you’re charged with trespassing.’ So I couldn’t come back the next day to pick up my jewelry or my clothes or nothing.” 

“My trustee – he’s a lawyer. And he’s a damn good lawyer. But for his clients. Not for me.” 

“My trustee said in a meeting that ‘He’s not doing his best to look for an apartment.’ Well at that time, I did find one over in Lancaster. They wanted a rent deposit or something. So the estate paid for it. And then I find out they didn’t accept it. Because of the housing market right now, they want stable people that have the extra money that can afford an apartment. At that time, I might have had maybe $100 left in my account. So there was no way I could have afford an apartment at that time.” 

“So what the trustee did was find a hotel in the city of Kitchener. So I said, ‘Why not El Mira?’ And they said, ‘Because you’re not welcomed in this town.’ They said ‘You have to stay away from the house and you’re moving to Kitchener.’ I said, ‘Ok. fine, fine.’”

“So I ended up at the motel. The lawyers paid for 2 weeks. Community Care paid for 1 week. Community Services paid for another week. So basically it was 4 weeks in that grungy motel. And then 2 days before the deadline, we got a hold of the men’s shelter. If I didn’t find something else, I would have ended up at the shelter. But I went down to The Working Centre and told them ‘I need a place to stay.’ I told them my problem. And they said ‘I think I might know somebody. I think.’ And the place where I’m staying now, is where they said. I’ve been there ever since.” 

“Instead of sitting on my ass and drinking whiskey, I still get out and do stuff.” Stephen has been volunteering at many local community services for several years. “I went to Dollarama. They have those small little shopping bags at 4 for a $1. I ended up buying 64 of those to use for their [Ray of Hope’s] food hampers.”