Knowing homelessness firsthand
by Cory Resilient
My name is Cory and I’m here to share my story and experience around being homeless.
I was born in Fort Erie, Ontario and grew up a few hours away in Hamilton. My parents were alcoholics and my father was a drug addict. I saw him do needles, smoke crack cocaine & heroin and at one point he was in jail.
Cops were always coming to the house, and I was surrounded by a lot of fighting and experiencing abuse. My parents split up and my mother got with another man who was also an alcoholic and abusive to me.
Loud music, drunk people and violence kept me up all night. It was hard to go to school. I was always getting into trouble and sometimes suspended. I was also put into a special behavior class.
At 13 I ran away from home to live at my father’s place. He was remarried and my step mother was sober and a good influence.
She eventually left him and he started doing drugs and alcohol again. He sold drugs too.
My dad taught me how to cook and sell cocaine, and by 15 years old I was charged for stealing cars, break and enter, weapons and drug possession.
When my dad died it was a turning point for me.
In my life I have experienced nothing but pain, corruption, death, abandonment with no good influences or guidance.
I wanted to know what a “good life” felt like. To me, it’s a car, a dog, a nice place, healthy friendships and a woman in my life.
To be one step closer to a good life, I visited a homeless shelter for the first time. I also got a job thanks to a local employment centre.
I was working full-time earning minimum wage but I got a nice apartment. Everything was being paid for by my credit card and I couldn’t manage it. I lost my place and was homeless again.
To me, homelessness looked like this:
I was a victim until I was an adult. I was upset and angry at the people who did this to me and it made me lash out and led to a life of crime.
When you get into trouble it’s the responsibility of the person to change. But its flaws in the system that prevent the change from happening.
I am 28 years old and still homeless. I survived drug addiction, jail, the criminal system, homelessness as a youth, overcame abuse, stigma and mental illness.
I am trying to get into Anawim House in Victoria, British Columbia to be one step closer to stability, rehabilitation, routine & structure. I need to get off of the street, to get well and progress.
It took inner strength to get through my past - I should have been dead or still in jail.
I use my experiences to empower me instead of making me feel bad. I use it as my drive to be resilient and help others. With every problem, I knew that there was a solution. I believe through my own work that I can help empower others. It has become my purpose.
My YouTube channel, Cory Resilient, shows my experiences and connects with people with a similar past. My goal is to educate street people on a better way of thinking and life, based on my own personal experience.
I want to be something bigger that can have an impact on society and be an example of making it through. Being resilient.
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