Skip to main content
Starling Community Services.

Timothy’s Story: From Finding Shelter to Finding Home


Life has a way of throwing curveballs at us when we least expect it. For Timothy, September 2021 marked a turning point in his life when unforeseen circumstances pushed him to make the difficult decision to spontaneously pack his belongings and leave his family home. Nothing was planned. It was sudden, but necessary.

Venturing into the unknown, Timothy set up his tent in a local wooded area. Despite his experience as an avid camper, his age of nearly 68 and underlying health concerns added an extra layer of difficulty. The harsh Canadian autumn also proved unforgiving as relentless rain and even snow made his tent life damp and miserable. Returning one day, he discovered his tent vandalized and destroyed, yet undeterred Timothy purchased a smaller tent and adopted a routine of setting up and taking down his temporary shelter to avoid attracting attention.

As November approached and winter's icy grip tightened, Timothy realized his current living situation was simply not sustainable. Worried about his health and well-being, he reached out to The Working Centre in Kitchener, who swiftly provided him with emergency shelter at The Bridges in Cambridge for three nights.

Seeking help became a game-changing decision.

With the support of dedicated individuals at the shelter, Timothy's immediate needs were met, and he was quickly transferred to the Super 8 Motel, finding respite from the harsh outdoors. Uncertain about his future, he was introduced to Lutherwood's Housing Services, who met with him at the motel and assisted in exploring affordable housing options. Eventually, Timothy selected a senior housing unit in Galt, and Lutherwood, along with staff from The Bridges, rallied to help him move in and settle down. The transition was seamless, and for the first time, he found himself embraced by a supportive community. "I absolutely LOVE my new home,” Timothy reflects. “I feel that I belong here."

Housing Support Workers went above and beyond, not only addressing housing concerns but also helping Timothy restore order to his life. He claims, "Without their assistance, I would be lost." The collaboration continued as Timothy engaged with Lutherwood's Employment Services to prepare for a return to work. Staff aided him in creating a new resume, acquiring necessary certifications, and coordinating with organizations like Canadian Council of Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) and The Literacy Group. Equipped with a Mental Health First Aid certificate and ongoing computer skills development, Timothy is now on the path to reentering the workforce.

Reflecting on his journey, he underscores the significance of teamwork and expresses deep gratitude to the numerous organizations and individuals who joined forces to transform his life. "I didn't do this alone—I had help, and plenty of it," he reflects. "I have so much to be thankful for. It's unbelievable that all these people - these organizations - came together to help me, a total stranger. To all of you, I thank you."

IMG 20211010 190840
IMG 20211011 102319
IMG 20211017 005921
IMG 20211017 010351
IMG 20211019 163529

A tribute gift was made to honour the organizations and individuals who provided valuable assistance to Timothy:

Angela Ruttan
Jeré Kools
Amanda Burke
Penny Rogers
Moronke Odumuye
Melissa Small

The Working Centre:
Nicolas Jaussaud

Cambridge Shelter Corporation:

Wayne Paddick
Bennett Zettler
Jake Reimer

Satellite Community Homes:

Cathy Shafe
Frank Prospero
Alana Bissessar


Leah Kay

The Literacy Group:

Lisa McArthur
John Stackhouse
Stuart Oakley

Super 8 Motel, Cambridge
House of Friendship Food Bank
Cambridge Food Bank
The Salvation Army Food Bank

"My first year, I didn't want to be here (and) did everything I could to try to get out. But eventually, I trusted these kind people with my life. I'm so glad I did because if I hadn't, I might have ended up in prison."