Home Safe for the Holidays

  Ying Sui Lim’s homeland was fraught with danger and political instability. Determined to create a good life for her children, Ying made the difficult decision to bring her family to Canada as refugees. When she arrived with four young children, Ying struggled with the impact of trauma and mental illness.

Overwhelmed by the challenges of settling her family in their new home, Ying ignored her own needs for support for her mental health. Eventually, Ying’s condition worsened and she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. She moved into a psychiatric hospital and left her children in the care of extended family members. It has been a life of ups and downs for Ying, with periods of stable mental health marked by longer periods during which she has required extended care.

Her son Kin, now an adult, has remained by his mother’s side. He has worked hard to ensure his mother has proper health care. However, finding her a secure place to live where she can get the support she needs has been a challenge over the years.

Kin has remained determined to find his mother a home.  While he has made many efforts, the long waiting lists and the lack of availability of appropriate supports has meant Kin has never been able to find his mother the home he believes she needs and deserves.

Three years ago, Kin noticed signs about a new YWCA Toronto housing centre being built on Elm Street.  Despite his scepticism that they would be able to make it through the long waiting lists and complicated bureaucracy, Kin phoned the number on the sign.  Kin was told it was going to be at least two years until the building was ready, but was reassured that his mom would be put on the list. Sure enough, two years later, the YWCA called Kin to let him know there was a place for his mother at the YWCA Elm Centre.  He was overjoyed.

Ying will live in a bright apartment and receive on-going mental health support. Her family can finally rest, knowing the woman who brought them to safety has finally found her own safe home.

Ying is one of many women struggling with mental health issues who are moving into the YWCA Elm Centre over the coming months.