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From Business Owner to Homeless: Gaston Isn’t Giving Up

25 January 2017

Montreal’s Villeray neighbourhood is where Gaston wants to live. He likes the tree-lined streets. But most importantly, it’s where his mother resides. “She’s getting older and, with her health problems, I want to be close to her,” he says.

The Old Brewery Mission’s Projet de réaffiliation en itinérance et santé mentale (PRISM-Cogeco) program team has been working to find Gaston an affordable apartment with as many of his preferred features as possible: for example, a closed bedroom, a balcony and a pet-friendly policy.

Like the hundreds of men who took part in the Mission’s PRISM-Cogeco program, Gaston suffers from a chronic mental health disorder—one that eventually took control of his life. He wound up alone on the street, homeless.

Before arriving at the Old Brewery Mission, Gaston was a successful restaurant owner, with a wife, a son and a comfortable home. But he struggled with a mental health disorder and says he didn’t always surround himself with the right people, which made things more difficult when his mental health began to rapidly decline.

Gaston is thankful to the Mission and its network of partners, like the CHUM Hospital, CSSS Jeanne-Mance and Diogène, for helping him achieve stability and a sense of peace. Today, he looks forward to the future—and to signing a lease and settling into a new apartment in the coming weeks.

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