Maimoona is only 22, but the struggles she’s faced extend far beyond her years.
At just 19, she was homeless, afraid and completely hopeless.
“I was being physically and emotionally abused at home,” explains Maimoona. “My options were to either commit suicide or run away.”
So she packed the few belongings that could fit in her bag and left, uncertain of what the future held. For the next year and a half, she lived in eight shelters, never knowing if she’d have a safe place to stay for the night.
“Shelters don’t keep you for very long,” she says. “But with only $32 a week to live on, I had nowhere else to go.”
Maimoona was one of the more than 28,500 individuals in Canada who experience homelessness on any given night. And it’s an issue that goes far beyond shelter alone. People who are homeless also face isolation, violence and limited or no access to much-needed health care.
In Maimoona’s case, she was battling a serious heart condition, and moving from shelter to shelter was making her sick. She was also struggling with depression and anxiety, choosing to self-harm to numb the pain she was experiencing.