The Royal Duke in Calgary is where life really began for Wayne – this is where he met the love of his life, his soulmate, Claire. He didn’t know it then, but she would soon become his wife.
When he talks about her, and their 15 years together, Wayne can’t help but smile.
“People said ‘watch out for those two, there is something sparking there’,” he says with a smile as he recalled the night they first met.
Wayne and Claire raised two sons, and like many Calgarians, loved going to the mountains whenever they could.
“If there is a God, that’s where he lives,” says Wayne, describing their trips together.
Life was as it should be for Wayne and his family, until a few years ago when everything changed suddenly.
Claire was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in just a few short months. Wayne and his family were completely devastated.
The loss of his wife was already too much to bare, when several months later his son died of complications with a blood defect after a car accident.
Wayne was at an overwhelming low point, when a year later his other son died of a drug overdose.
Now Wayne sits on his bottom bunk on the fourth floor of the Calgary Drop-In Centre telling his story, while looking out the window towards the mountains. The Rockies were a place where he and Claire spent so much time together, but he talks about his life now in a much different way.
There are two eras for Wayne – life with Claire and his sons, and life now, with no family at all.
Wayne says he entered a downward spiral of depression, not wanting to live without his family. He ended up at the Drop-In Centre, which he describes as a ‘God send.’
After everything Wayne has been through, and the darkness he entered over the past few years, he knows now that he is ready for something else.
He wants to live again.
And what is living again? For Wayne it is being a part of a community, something he credits with keeping him from circling the downward spiral of depression once again.
Wayne wants to be able to have a place to call home, a place that is his own where he can continue with his healing process in the city he has lived in and loved since he was a young child.
But that is something he can’t afford right now, unless he has help.
“Just because I’m homeless doesn’t make me less than you,” explains Wayne. “I just can’t afford a house or apartment without subsidization.”
Calgary is facing an affordable housing crisis and thousands of families and people just like Wayne need help.
There are so many stories and too few options when it comes to attainable homes in our city.
Everyone should have a place they can call home, feel safe and incorporated into the community.
Centre 4800 provides a new option for people in need of long-term supportive housing, as well as for members of the general public.
Help us make a difference. By adding your voice today, you will be part of the solution and help change lives. #SaveCentre4800
Find out more at centre4800.thedi.ca.