Last year, Sky and Curtis lived in a tent on the outskirts of Nanaimo. Every few days, a bylaw officer would arrive and order the couple to leave.
“It was disruptive. We had to uproot everything,” Sky said.
Sky and Curtis moved their tent and belongings from spot to spot. They tried living at Discontent City, the tent encampment at 1 Port Drive, but didn’t feel safe.
In December, Sky and Curtis moved into Newcastle Place, a temporary supportive housing site operated by Island Crisis Care Society.
“We were excited to get off the street—having our own rooms, having a lock on it,” Curtis said.
Sky and Curtis were homeless before meeting each other. In Sky’s case, substance use issues led to homelessness. Curtis, on the other hand, was evicted from his home and was unable to secure another place to rent. He started using substances to deal with the stress of being homeless.
“When you’re in a tent, that feeling of insecurity—and we we’re getting robbed all the time—it’s just so depressing. It’s easy to turn to drugs,” Curtis said.
With a safe place to sleep, regular meals, and support from Island Crisis Care Society staff, Sky and Curtis have drastically reduced their substance use while living at Newcastle Place.
“As soon as I got housing, I cleaned up,” Sky said.
In their spare time, Sky and Curtis enjoy colouring books and hanging out at the beach. While Curtis looks forward to one day moving into market housing with Sky, he sees their stay at Newcastle Place as an important step in the recovery process.
“We’re both from broken families,” Curtis said. “And we’re both healing.”