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Starting Life Again After Leaving an Abusive Home

I’ve finally decided enough is enough and I’ve begun the process of leaving an abusive home. The only issue is I have very little income. I was putting up with the abuse as it gave me relatively cheap shelter while I was finishing my education. I can’t wait it out for a few more years, the toll on myself has become too high. Most days I wish I would disappear from existence as escape seems so far away. I’ve shifted my focus to try to work full time and move out.

I’ve been getting help Alberta Mental Health and 211. Shelters are not an option as I have a dog. I am not willing to give up my dog for weeks, possibly months as he’s my only comfort in life. He’s one of the biggest reasons I decided to leave. I’ve just started income support so that I have something until I find work. However, like most people on income support you’ll find the amount is not a lot. I was told I would be reassessed once I had a lease agreement and that they would help. I have help through Alberta Mental Health in trying to find market housing, and income support will help me with a damage deposit and first month’s rent. I am actively looking for work, had my resume reviewed professionally, sent out countless resumes over the last month and nothing. No responses from staffing agencies either.

But… I’m pretty terrified. I want to leave, but I am scared of being homeless. Without a regular decent income, would anyone be willing to rent to me? I don’t know why some people think it’s possible to ‘live the high life’ on income support, it seems impossible when the max an individual can receive is $650 a month (don’t consider this a complaint, I am so grateful to Income Support for any help). I’m worried that no matter what I do I’ll be forced to choose between the shit hole I’m at or the streets because I don’t have regular employment. I don’t have any other means of support at the moment – like a couch to surf on until this all works out. It’s just me and my dog.

Has anyone been in my situation or have known someone who has? How did it work out for you, or what resources did you use?

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33 Responses

  1. Mercedes says:

    If u find somewhere to stay temporarily that wont allow your dog and u have no other options, I would be able to foster for u no charge of course and u could still see your baby whenever you want:)

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  2. Alexii John Alexii John says:

    Call friends and family. Seek. Room for rwnt

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  3. Maja Black Maja Black says:

    Pm me, I did the shelter thing to get out. You say you began the process of getting out, what did you do? You can get out and finish school, I just am not sure if you are self reliant enough to do it. You may need a year off school, but if that is what you want do it! I know exact resources, I had cops show up one night, they told me to pack, my life was in danger, I had no idea…now I do, pm me, I know places

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  4. Alexii John Alexii John says:

    I did this. Assistance got me into hotel rooms ans with homward trust

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  5. Lisa Hoff Lisa Hoff says:

    If you need help with care for your beloved dog, while taking care of yourself try contacting this group. And good luck to you and your puppy. Be safe ❤️

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  6. I am in school and work part time making minimum wage and my first apartment I could definitely afford all by myself. It was super rough but it was doable. You just cant be suuuuper picky about where you are renting. I have cats too so I needed pet friendly places. I know its not much but hopefully that gives you a little bit of hope and confidence in yourself. It seems really frightening because there’s so many unknowns

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    • I did this but it didn’t work out for me. I would use the food bank, consistently put myself in the negative monthly to pay rent. Anything to get by. My breaking point was the bed bugs. The building wasn’t managing them and sleeping at night became difficult. Having just any shelter because it’s cheap isn’t worth having zero peace of mind 24/7. I can’t blame someone for not wanting that.

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    • That’s fair bed bugs would break me too. Thankfully I havent had to experience that.

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  7. Please pm me, I have lots of resources for you. Xoxoxo let me help.

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  8. Mj Mank Mj Mank says:

    There is emergency housing with capital region. If you situation is /was violent or there are threats to your life call the Today centre at 7804556880 and or call 7804964777 they will do an assessment and perhaps assist in your housing situation or at least give u directions in securing a subsidized place Brent is 28-30 % of your income. Try meticulous housing association. They rent to non meticulous clients. Good luck

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  9. Ruth Beter Ruth Beter says:

    if you are having trouble finding a job, have you considered being a school bus driver, they will train you to get your class 2 and you can do a school run and do charters and other stuff when opportunity arises, at least you will be making money and you can also get a kindergarten run so maybe think about it, there are many bus companys out there that you can go to, just a suggestion.

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  10. You shouldn’t have to stick it out in an abusive situation for 2 seconds, let alone months or years. You will find a way. I see many good suggestions here. I have nothing to add except to say God bless you. Better things are around the corner for you.

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  11. Tina Jarvis Tina Jarvis says:

    The maximum an single individual can receive is $800.00 a month on income support with a maximum of $325.00 per month for rent the remainder of that is supposed to pay for food, a busspass, etc. Also checkout Homeward Trust as well they will help out. If not. Working as your worker about the Lives in transitions program this is a great program aimed to help women escape from domestic violence program.

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  12. I honestly wish the city would legalize basement suites everywhere.. and people could rent out their basements for $500 a month or whatever.. it would help a lot of people. For the home owner that is $6000 a year!!!!

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  13. Heather Lee Heather Lee says:

    The Bissell and Mustard seed have fantastic housing support workers, give them a call and see what they can assist you with. i’m familiar with those two but am sure there’s other agencies who also have excellent staff that would work with ya, it’s them baby steps gal.. you can do this.

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  14. Alberta works will help! You go in there tell them you want to leave your abusive husband….. can you stay with someone till you find a place, cuz that will help. If you stay in a shelter the spca has a program that they will care for your dog for free. Not sure the length of time but it’s something to look into good luck hugs

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  15. I have a largish house on the northside, I could use some extra money if you need a room, you can have the whole front of the house, private entrance and all. pm me if interested

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  16. Contact Alberta Works, they have programs for people leaving abuse, they will help find gainful employment for you and help you financially as well if you have medical documentation stating that you need to be off. You might also qualify for medical EI for 15 weeks.

    If you’re up for it and comfortable with it, kijiji has ads for roommates that will make it financially easier. But speaking as someone who’s been in your shoes, be extremely careful with who you room with. Survivors of abuse tend to still be in the cycle without the normal ability to detect red flags.

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  17. Maja Black Maja Black says:

    Rent-ex rents out rooms in houses for $400 to $500. They allow pets in some.

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  18. Having a pet complicates things.

    Homeward Trust will only help you if you’re chronically homeless.

    Home Ed won’t accept people with pets.

    YMCA won’t accept pets.

    Capital Region Housing is not currently offering a rent subsidy as they’re over budget. For their houses it’s still a very long waiting list.

    The average rent for a studio in Edmonton that accepts pet is about $850, above what Income Support will provide.

    You’re only option is a room mate. There’s less resources for people in your situation than people seem to think.

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