Contributed by Stephanie Gauthier.
How do you wind up experiencing homelessness?
The answer is rarely straightforward. For Soren, it all started when he lost his car.
“My car got impounded,” he says. “I lost a brand-new Honda GSR, a little racecar thing that I bought with my dad’s inheritance. The only thing I ever got from my father, and I ended up losing it over $900.”
The payment would’ve released the car from impound. Soren and his partner worked at an orchard at the time where their housing was provided. The season ended shortly before the car was impounded so they had also just lost their stable housing.
“Once the car was gone, so were 90 per cent of our belongings,” Soren says. “We were basically left with nothing.”
They didn’t have a home or a means of transportation that could help them find new jobs. This led Soren to experience homelessness for the first time in his life. It was two years after he came to Kelowna from Powell River after a friend encouraged him to move.
“He led me to believe Kelowna was all that and a bag of chips.”
Soren now counts the move as a misstep and a contributing factor leading him to homelessness. He didn’t have a local support structure that could have changed his direction.
“You get in that rut and if you don’t have friends or family who can help you out of it, there’s not a whole lot you can do,” he says.
Soren reveals more factors that led to homelessness. Things predating his arrival in Kelowna, while working in the logging industry.
“I got crushed by a log when I was 19,” he says. “It drove me into the ground like a nail. Broke my back, broke my neck, shattered my pelvis, and broke my spleen. I spent thirteen months in the hospital. I should be dead.”
Soren recovered and continued working in logging. He even started his own business, making millions of dollars in the process. However, he was living with constant pain and a dependence on prescription opiates, which eventually led him to use heroin. He blames doctors for many of his battles with addiction. A twist in Soren’s path came when softwood lumber prices tanked and took his business interests with them.
“I lost everything,” he says. “I lost every asset I had.”
Visit Journey Home to read the rest of Soren’s story.
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