Success stories

Read personal success stories of those working in or being assisted by Red Deer’s housing system.
Housing and Homelessness Cover Photo

Click on the headings below to read success stories for each agency.

Safe Harbour Supported Housing

“At the age of 16, R. got into drugs, living a reckless lifestyle. He was 20 when he entered Safe harbour detox, then into recovery housing. R. was thankful to have a place he could actually call home. With the help of his support worker, R. found fulltime employment, saved for a vehicle, then moved into his own place. R. relocated for work, is attending school to become a journeyman welder, and is purchasing his own home.”

“C. came to us from a treatment center and began chairing meetings, proving himself in his sobriety that he was made house facilitator. C. has enjoyed his role mentoring other tenants so much that when he moved into his own residence he asked to stay on as a community client. At 22, C. has since returned to college and continues to be an alumni mentor at his old treatment center. “

“J. arrived at Safe Harbour following a lengthy jail sentence. With the help of his support worker, he was able to find fulltime employment and save for his own place. J. met a woman and together they moved to BC, purchased a home and got engaged.”

Buffalo Housing First


“When I first started working at the Buffalo, H. would only come down very briefly in the mornings, and might respond to a greeting, but only quickly, then she would go back to her room, and we might not see her for the rest of the day.  In the last couple of months, I'm seeing her spending a little more time downstairs, leaving the building at least once daily for her coffee, and seeking out staff to go for a walk with her. This is a huge success!”

“From the amazing support and learning opportunities from staff, to the humbling experiences that come from learning our tenants’ stories when they reach out, I'm beginning to understand how unique and special this community within our community is.”

“Every effort and positive choice made is a success! For example, one client said she’s actually looking forward to her mandated rehab and wants to redo her resume so she can hit the ground running when she leaves. Another client spoke with me about getting into the dual diagnosis program and getting dental work done. His face just lit up and the joy in his eyes was like a kid at Christmas. At some point or another everyone makes the decision to try and better their life. In my eyes all steps taken, even if it’s two steps forward and three back, they are success stories. “


I’ve moved out and live on my own! Staff helped me get my guest management under control. I was supported to get in touch with agencies for budgeting help and medical care. Staff helped me clean up when I needed it, and helped keep me positive, empowered and safe. I am very excited to now volunteer as a “cat cuddler” at the SPCA.”

“I moved into the Buffalo after staying in a hotel for over a month due to a prior eviction. I was into drinking heavily and using drugs. My personal support worker supported me as much as she could. I made some mistakes, she voiced her thoughts on the matter and it was a good thing she said those things. One time I did something so irresponsible she kind of jolted my mind and made me look at it in a different way. That was when my attitude on life changed. Around that time there were a number of deaths happening and I was getting exhausted of the lifestyle I was living. One morning I knew things had to stop, and I made a move involving my higher power. Me and my support worker made it to many appointments to better my life. Eventually I was moved into a sober house which I still reside today. I haven't had any slips since I quit everything. I am now volunteering at Turning Point and do workouts at the Dawe Center. Once I have found a job and made new friends, I won't be coming around the Buffalo much at all. It will however be in the back of my mind as a chapter in my life, which has helped mold me into the success that I have turned out to be.”

Red Deer Housing Team


“Working with the Shoestring warehouse has made me happier and more complete. The use of my skills and abilities in helping others has brought fulfilment that I was lacking for a long time.  Coming to Shoestring when I am able makes me happy every day I am here. Having all the positive support with the workers that also come and help is a great benefit. I appreciate the time I am able to help at Shoestring.”


“A client came to us fleeing domestic violence with severe, untreated and undiagnosed mental health issues. She experienced intense paranoia 24 hours a day, with very little sleep, making attending appointments next to impossible. This client did not trust anyone, would sit with her head down, and stuttered. After time the client started to learn more about domestic violence, attended therapy, was given a diagnosis and started to take medications. We challenged the client to learn more about her mental health and gave her strategies to cope with life’s stressors. Currently this client exercises daily, volunteers multiple times a week, sleeps regularly and participates in groups and community activism.”

“This client came to us, with her two year old child, having just fought tooth and nail to get her child back into her custody. She struggled with mental health barriers, has no family for support and was fleeing a domestic violence relationship. Priority for this client was to find a home, keep her child safe and stabilize her mental health. With wrap around supports from various agencies and with a stable home, this client now has her own business, has two part time staff and has purchased a reliable vehicle. She now lives in the Yukon, her business is flourishing and her family is safe and happy. “

Red Deer Native Friendship Society

Homelessness Prevention Program client

“John, a 23 year old Aboriginal male, had been homeless and involved in criminal activity, but he became involved in Wellbreity, pow wow drum programs, spring feasts and the community sweat lodge. He became housed with support from our programs and is now on his way to completing a college diploma program. He has become a sponge for all things cultural and this has empowered him to be a signal for other youth in the community who want to make a change and break the cycle. The Elders point to him when we want our people to wake up from the impacts of historical trauma.”

Bredin Centre for Learning

PATH Program client

“When “Joe” came into the program, he had just completed a treatment program due to his long battle with alcohol addiction and was staying at a local shelter. He had never been homeless before and was having a difficult time getting back on his feet. Joe had just found a new job, income support assisted with new work clothes and travel expenses, and he and fiancée “Patty” were looking forward to building a life together. Everything seemed to be starting to come together.

Although things started out well, Joe unfortunately relapsed into addiction and lost his job. He and Patty were constantly fighting and decided to separate. Joe continued to struggle but PATH staff remained a presence in his life for whenever he was willing to accept help. Eventually Joe decided to reconnect with his support system, return to AA meetings and work on his relationship with Patty.

PATH staff went to do a final home visit with Joe before the end of programming and his transformation was nothing short of amazing. He and Patty had moved back in together and  covered one of their apartment walls with lovely photo collages of the two of them together, as well as photos of families and friends. Joe was eager to show staff his guitar and played a couple of songs for everyone, noting how much his passion for playing music helped him through his recovery. The pair had a steady income and talked about how they loved cooking meals and baking together. They had also adopted a puppy who clearly brought them a great deal of joy. They emphasized how much they loved one another and how delighted they were that they had managed to come out of everything that had happened and build a beautiful home for their little family. At that point Joe had been sober for going on four months and had tears in his eyes as he talked about his recovery and how for the first time in a long time, he felt truly happy.”