Here’s “one for the books”.

I called the Centre of Hope because I had nowhere to stay and no idea how they worked. I told the person who answered the phone that I had nowhere to stay, couldn’t find a place and that I was on Ontario Works and would be sleeping my car. He told me to come right down.

When I gave them all the information they asked for, they promptly showed me to my dorm and gave me the cook’s tour. I had no idea if or how I paid for this, but I thought it best not to ask the staff, deciding to ask someone staying there instead.

The very next morning there was a note on my bed telling me to speak to the office “immediately”. I was informed that, because I was on Ontario Works I could not stay there and was to leave. After much hand-ringing and discussions among staff, they agreed to let me pay for two nights and stay until Tuesday morning – today.

Last night I spoke with one of the only truly kind staff, who told me the problem was they should have told me not to come until August 1st. Had I done that I could have stayed for free for 42 days before I had to start paying. She told me to speak to the manager “first thing in the morning” because I had been misinformed and they might be able to back-date things and let me stay. I had a tiny glimmer of hope.

I went down to the front desk before eight to tell them I needed to speak to Stacey, the manager. I waited patiently in the lobby for almost three hours, but they finally told me to go and speak to the guy I could have seen at eight o’clock. He agreed that I had been “misinformed” by the staff and said that he would do what he could for me to see if they could correct their mistake. An hour or so later he called to tell me to get my stuff out. There was nothing he or anyone else could do. I asked him again if he agreed that they had made the error, and that this had cost me staying there for 42 days, something that would have allowed me to get back on my feet, eat, and find a job and a new place to live. He agreed, but said his hands were tied.

If you have never been in a position like mine in your life, well, good for you. You never want to be. But, if you have, you will know all too well what a huge difference the way this has turned out means to me. I have gone from that tiny glimmer of hope to total despair, all because I was “misinformed”.

The Salvation Army would tell you they are a charitable organization. I didn’t see it. .


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