During Calgary's bitterly cold winter, Jeremy Martin sought refuge in parkades and garbage rooms  any place to stay warm overnight.

Now, after a year-and-a-half of being homeless, the Calgary man is settling in to a permanent home.

"It makes me optimistic, you know, everything's going to be OK," says Martin.

Homeless Jeremy Martin

After living in a tent, camping out every night for a year-and-a-half, Jeremy Martin, 41, finally has been set up with permanent housing. (CBC)

In December, CBC caught up with the man while he was camped out with a small heater in an apartment garbage room.

"Even inside my tent, with that heater on high, I could see my breath, couldn't feel my fingers," he said at the time.

Martin's journey from the streets to a place of his own was helped along by Dr. Kuen Chow.

The pair met while Martin participated in a dental program at CUPS.  

"I was phoning housing agencies every week to make sure he was in line and he would always be promised — 'OK, it's coming, it's coming.' For him to be here now, I'm just so thankful," says Chow. 

Long-term support 

Homeless Jeremy Martin's tent

Jeremy Martin used this tent for a year-and-a-half while homeless. Now he has it set up in his new apartment. The Alex Community Health Centre will soon drop off a bed for him. (CBC)

The agency that finally found Martin a home was Home Base, a program run through the Alex Community Health Centre. Alex staff will act as mediators between Martin and the landlord.

The two bedroom apartment is subsidized at $500 a month. Martin will pay the rent with his disability income.

"People who have a lot of barriers — for example, learning disabilities or FASD — those individuals really struggle with trying to find a place," says the Calgary John Howard Society's Bernadette O'Donnell. 

O'Donnell says it's important that her organization and others to provide long-term support for individuals coming out of homelessness.

"This isn't something that one person can do, it takes a large group of people to team together to support that individual."

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said Dr. Kuen Chow offered dental services at the Mustard Seed. In fact he is affiliated with the dental program at CUPS.
    Mar 18, 2014 11:09 AM MT