Indigenous woman finds support at The Gathering Place after being evicted from Raising Hope

Despite not feeling ready to leave her residence, Fay Munro was evicted from Raising Hope last month.

“In the written eviction notice, one of the reasons they gave was that I was speaking badly about Raising Hope in the media,” said Munro.

Munro has been vocal about the lack of support she felt from management at Raising Hope.

Munro moved into Raising Hope a little over a year ago right before her youngest child, Onyx was born. The program advertises itself as support for young and expecting mothers recovering from drug addiction.

“It got to the point where I was putting stuff against my door at night,” Munro said, referring to the end of her stay at Raising Hope.

“I was barricading myself in so I could sleep.”

Efforts to contact the executive director of Raising Hope, Barb Lawrence, were unsuccessful.

The Gathering Place is a Regina organization that provides supports through many programs tailored to specific situations. Access to Elders through each program is also available for those who wish.
Photo by Rose Mansbridge-Goldie

After her eviction, Munro was connected to The Gathering Place, a local organization within Regina/Treaty Status Indian Services Inc. (RTSIS) that provides support programs to Indigenous and non-Indigenous people including counseling and family support.

An RTSIS spokesperson said The Gathering Place seeks to connect people like Munro to supports they need. They also have Elders available in each program for clients to talk to if they wish.

The Gathering Place helped Munro find a place for her and her one-year-old baby Onyx to live and extended other supports to Munro as well.

“I have new case workers at The Gathering Place and they have been phenomenal in terms of support,” said Munro. “I see a therapist through them as well.”

“It’s because of the Gathering Place and my reserve that we were able to find this place at all.”

Munro said she feels more peaceful at her new place and is relieved to not be living at Raising Hope anymore.

“Here I don’t feel like the walls are listening to me anymore,” said Munro.

The Indigenous workers at The Gathering Place give Munro a sense of comfort and understanding as well.

“When I sat down and spoke with one of the Elders I left [feeling] so good because I didn’t even need to say anything,” Munro said.

“This woman just sat there and introduced herself to me and she was telling me my story through her. That right there encouraged me.”

Munro talked about the contrast between the support she feels now and the support she felt at Raising Hope.

“[At Raising Hope] they don’t even know how to treat addicts,” said Munro. “I don’t even think they really know what addiction is.”

Munro said it’s a “super comforting feeling” walking into The Gathering Place because she doesn’t feel alienated by her history with addiction.

“It’s just a new level of care,” said Munro.

Munro looks forward to continuing her recovery journey in this new safe space. She will be a year clean on March 18.

“I’m really proud of myself for getting through all of this without relapsing,” said Munro.

“Any time I wanted to relapse it was in response to the way Raising Hope was treating me or one of my friends.”

Munro said she still feels mental side-affects from her time at Raising Hope.

“I am going to have some issues reaching out to certain community supports now because of my experience at Raising Hope,” said Munro.

“As addicts it’s hard enough to reach out and ask for help because you’re scared of being judged, you’re scared of being shut down and when you have an experience like the one I had at Raising Hope that just reinforces those fears.”

Munro wants the program to be “fixed” because she knows it’s a program that so many women in Regina need. There is an advocacy group made up of former employees and residence who are speaking about their experiences at Raising Hope.

“Our group is growing,” said Munro. “People are mad.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.