A Phone Call to Home

by juneli
Categories: Divisional News
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By: June Li

A set of unfortunate circumstances left 83-year-old Elsie homeless. When her landlord passed away, Elsie was left looking for a new place to live, but luck was not on her side. Soon she found herself sleeping in church parks and shelters. When Toronto experienced a cold snap, Elsie sought shelter at the Moss Park Armoury where The Salvation Army was serving meals. That is where she met Major Lorraine Hart.

“I heard Elsie’s story the first night I was there, she shared her story with our team and said, ‘All I want is a safe place to live, but no one wants an elderly woman.’ My heart was stirred and burdened for her,” says Major Hart. Like many, Major Hart was touched by Elsie’s story. After volunteering at the Armoury, Major Hart found herself thinking about Elsie and wondering whether she would be OK. As The Salvation Army team looked for more individuals to serve at the Armoury, Major Hart once again offered to volunteer. “I didn’t expect to go back to the Armoury but things changed and every time I went back, Elsie was still there,” she says, “I couldn’t get her out of my mind. It seemed that she was doing everything right. She knew what she wanted, she was independent, she was making phone calls, and looking for places online, but nothing was lining up”.

After visiting the Belinda’s Place in Newmarket with the Divisional Executive Board last year, Major Hart remembered that they provided housing support for elderly women experiencing homelessness. That is when Major Hart decided to make a call; the phone call that would ultimately change the course of path for Elsie. After a few phone calls, she connected with a caseworker and told her about Elsie’s story.  With a smile on her face, Major Hart said, “Within a day of the call, they informed me that they had a bed for her”.

Major Hart’s actions show that sometimes a kind gesture can help transform the lives of those in need. “I didn’t do anything extraordinary. Sometimes God chooses us to be their voice, their advocate, to connect them to the supports that will give them back their hope and dignity”.

To read more about Elsie’s story, please click here.