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Sonya’s story & the Cornerstone Drop-In Centre

Sonya* is one of over sixty women who have benefited from the Cornerstone Drop-In. In her 40’s, Sonya has faced a series of traumas in her life. As a child Sonya also experienced developmental delays which continue to have an impact today. Until recently Sonya lived in her childhood home, but faced periods of homelessness as she fled family abuse.

When Sonya gave birth to her son Miles*,  he was immediately placed under the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development as Sonya continued to live with some effects of developmental delay when she was a child. Miles was soon placed in temporary care with Sony’s sister. Sonya continued to live with her family as her sister would occasionally bring Miles for a visit. However, physical abuse from her family was driving Sonya to access a shelter in Surrey, several times last year alone. Despite the abuse she experienced, Sonya was reluctant to move away from her family home where she felt she had her best chance of seeing her son. She never stayed long enough at the shelter for the outreach workers to help assist her in finding her own home, free of violence.

When the Cornerstone Drop-In opened last year, Sonya quickly became a regular visitor. She found a safe and caring community there. The Drop In staff were familiar with Sonya from her visits to the women’s shelter. When the family violence escalated, Drop-In staff focused their efforts to encourage Sonya to seek a home of her own and offered the supports to make it happen. They helped her obtain financial assistance to cover moving expense, and helped her find a place to live. They also mediated with the family to keep her few belongings until she secured her own apartment.

During this time, Sonya’s sister was finalizing the adoption of Miles. The Drop-In staff helped Sonya meet with a social worker to create a visitation agreement, and helped Sonya voice her needs and concerns to her sister about visitations with her son. Sonya is happy with the outcome – the agreement guarantees she will have at least 6 supervised visits with her son each year. Meetings will take place in a safe public space.

Sonya is now living in her own place and is interested in building her resume. In the past she never felt she had valuable skills to offer. Today Sonya is volunteering at the Drop-In. Her work has become a great source of pride. And where Sonya was reluctant to participate in the weekly group therapy session, she has found her voice and is sharing her story. She continues to attend the Drop-In each day it is open and feels she has a new family among the women at the Centre.

* The names have been changed out of respect for the privacy of the individuals who generously agreed to share their story.

About our Grants

Women accessing the Drop-In face typically face multiple challenges. The resources, supports, and community connections established at the Cornerstone Drop-In are instrumental in helping each woman carve out an independent life for herself. A grant from Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society made this women’s only drop-in possible. Watch our video at the end of this story about EFry and the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society granting partnership.

The Society makes a difference in our community by funding projects that will reduce homelessness in Surrey. To date, we have invested over $2.5 million dollars into supporting our community.