From Living In Shelters To Having A Place to Call Home, Robert's Inspiring Recovery Story

In recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) and in advance of World Homeless Day on October 10th, we are sharing this inspiring story. Robert has been with Cota for over five years. Before being connected to our Mental Health and Justice Supportive Housing Program (MH&J SH), he was living in shelters and boarding homes.

Robert moved back to Toronto at 18, and for the next seven years, said he faced many challenges with precarious housing situations, living with Schizophrenia, and the justice system. He often asked a TTC officer if he could ride for free because the shelter only provided one travel token each day.

Individual receiving housing support services
Robert (individual receiving services)

It was either that or I crash on the street somewhere. But then it becomes my past trouble with the cops and if they ask me, ‘why are you here?’ and I say, ‘I have nowhere else to go.’ They can arrest me and take me to jail. There’s nothing I can do.

- Robert (individual receiving services)

A women at a shelter suggested that Robert visit the Shout Clinic down on Wellesley. He said this started him on his path to recovery and he got connected to different workers and Cota. This is Robert’s story:

Kim (pictured left) is a Supportive Housing Worker at Cota and has been working with Robert for five years. She remembers when she first met him that he hardly engaged or spoke to her. “Now he laughs and smiles, keeps his place clean, and participates in Cota Wellness and Engagement Groups,” Kim says.

“I’ve accomplished all my goals: A clean house with furniture, Food in the fridge, and I haven’t had any more issues with the justice system since being with Cota,” says Robert.

Toronto skyline graphic

Cota’s Mental Health and Justice Supportive Housing program provides rent-subsidized housing and support to adults (16+) living with a mental illness who are homeless and are involved with, or, are at significant risk of involvement with the justice system.

Staff meet with tenants both in one-on-one scheduled visits and through coordinated group activities to assist them in:

  1. developing a safety and housing support plan
  2. achieving/maintaining optimum health and wellness while pursuing personal recovery

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