Having a place to call home is a basic need often taken for granted by many. For Ralph Erb, 32, this is something he wouldn’t be able to have and maintain without the help of New Directions’ Supported Independent Living services.
Ralph started in the Trails program with New Directions, a group home service for adults. After 10 years of progressing with these services, he realized he wanted to and was ready to live more independently.
Since 2006, Ralph has been enjoying living in his very own apartment. He loves the support offered that helps him get through the day-to-day functioning of living a good, independent life.
From work, to play, to self-care, Supported Independent Living helps individuals like Ralph achieve it all with a safe place to call home, building up a successful renter history and gaining skills to become even more independent, in hopes of moving out in the future completely on their own.
He says the amount of support you get is great, for example, helping him keep his apartment clean, help with laundry, grocery shopping, and getting to appointments.
There’s a strong sense of community between Ralph and the others who use Supported Independent Living services. The Resource Centre at 514 St. Mary Ave. acts as a meeting place, Ralph says that everyone spends their days there playing games, talking, eating, and getting help with different needs. Ralph enjoys finding others who share his interests like hockey and football to spend time with.
The Resource Centre also has lots of staff there to hang out and provide support for individuals. They help manage difficulties and potential conflicts between people, helping keep it a safe and happy place for everyone. Ralph values the regular conversations staff has with him and says they’ve been a big help in giving him positive ways to manage his emotions and reactions. Ralph is getting better at coping with difficult emotions and situations every day, learning to take time to step back, go outside or take a few minutes to breathe and think before reacting.
Supported Independent Living gives Ralph and others valuable work experience and career prep including jobs with their own lawn care and repair services social enterprise business. Career prep for folks can include resume building, interview prep and transportation to interviews. Through these resources, Ralph got a term position as a line cook with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Ralph says he’s grateful and happy to be a part of Supported Independent Living. Without these services, some Winnipeggers would be at higher risk for homelessness. These services are necessary to provide safe, stable housing and resources to help individuals lead happy, fulfilling, independent lives.
Consider donating today to so that New Directions can continue to provide the best care possible and support as many individuals as we can.