A smile lit up the face of 65-year-old Ruth in Nanaimo on Saturday, as offers of help flooded in.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said the retiree. “I didn’t expect that.”
On Friday, CHEK News shared Ruth’s story of how escaping domestic violence left the Nanaimo senior homeless and living out of her rental car.
She told CHEK News she had spent 30 days in a domestic violence shelter in Nanaimo, but could find no housing that she could afford on her minimal pension.
“I feel like a zero. I’m just an ordinary person but I don’t have a place to go to,” Ruth told CHEK News Friday.
“I slept in this car last night.”
The 65-year-old found herself homeless for the first time in her life, despite filling out every form and funding program she could find for housing, and calling shelters daily looking for spaces.
“Each and every organization in Nanaimo that I have been to, and I mean the list is endless, that have those programs available to them, all of their funds are gone, they have wait lists,” said Ruth.
So the Nanaimo retiree is pleading for the provincial government to fund more rental supports and housing spaces for seniors fleeing domestic violence.
“So there is a gap there, and we are seeing it more and more,” said Daylene Jones, executive director of Haven Society: Nanaimo/Oceanside, on Friday.
Yet, as soon as Ruth’s story aired, people began messaging CHEK News offering to help.
“I think they’re incredible people with big hearts,” Ruth said on Saturday.
“I felt compelled to reach out and offer this woman a home. A safe home,” said Jan Ferguson, a Comox Valley resident.
Ferguson has offered to share her home with the survivor, who up until Friday feared she’d wind up on the streets.
“I hope you’re feeling better now,” Ferguson told Ruth over the phone.
“A home would be good,” said Ruth.
“How brave this woman is. This is a very difficult place for a woman to be,” Ferguson told CHEK News.
“I can get my feet back under me and find long-term housing,” said Ruth.