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July 9, 2018

Montreal transitional home helps drug users heal

Healing comes in many different forms. For Hind, it began when she moved across the world to Canada in search of a new beginning.

Coming to terms with her homosexuality in a traditional Muslim home was difficult. Hind started using drugs at a young age, and her life began a downward spiral.

Hind was 17 when she moved to Canada from Morocco. The transition wasn't easy, and she found it difficult to adapt to her new surroundings. Eventually she hit rock bottom. Alone but determined, she started working through her issues.

The hard work paid off. Hind realized one day that she had been clean for 14 months. But she also knew she hadn’t healed.

Hind was introduced to Portage, an organization that provides a treatment program for people suffering from addiction. Hind followed Portage’s 6-month program and developed a new focus and direction.

“Life offered me little gifts along the way,” says Hind. “It is not easy to change 15 years’ worth of bad habits, but Portage supported me.”

Hind lives in Portage’s new transitional housing facility in Montreal, Habitations Communautaires Portage II. It’s a place where she feels safe and supported.

“Even if I don’t know the people passing me in the hallway, I can’t help but smile and say hello,” she says. “I know we all have a shared background and that makes me feel connected.”

Hind’s former job as a chief cook involved late nights and inconsistent hours. She needed something with stability. Encouraged by a sponsor, she interviewed for a position at Mouvement pour l’intégration et la retention en emploi — a program operated by Portage that helps people re-enter the job market.

She got the job.

Hind is flourishing in her new position. She takes pride in helping people from Portage and from various backgrounds find employment.

It’s an experience that will shape her own future, too. She speaks enthusiastically about returning to school to pursue a career in social work and using her own journey to help others.

“I’m looking forward to what my future holds.”

This project received funding from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Société d’habitation du Québec through the 2014–2019 Canada–Québec Investment in Affordable Housing.