The day that Joseph arrived at the Shelter his presence was felt immediately. As he walked around the common space, asking everyone their name with a huge grin on his face, his energy was almost overwhelming. His boundaries were entirely lacking if not nonexistent, but there was a genuine friendliness and charisma in his interactions with both staff and his co-residents.
The truth of the matter is that Joseph has schizophrenia and at that point he was in a state of psychosis. For as nice, naive and excited as he was, Joseph was equally confused, cloudy and lost. Joseph had moved around quite a bit in his life up to this point. He was born in Europe and after his parents separated he moved between Eastern Canada and the Caribbean. However, when the living arrangements with both of his parents fell apart he found himself in Vancouver, all alone.
Eventually Joseph made his way to Covenant House Vancouver seeking shelter and found a group of staff who recognized the potential in him. Once he was safely in our Shelter we could begin to address his mental health concerns. The Shelter team has moved slowly but deliberately with him, careful not overwhelm him. Since his arrival some months ago, Joseph has begun treatment for his schizophrenia and made steps towards finding supportive long term housing.
He has started to become more aware and have a better understanding of his illness and is slowly coming to terms with it and what this will mean for his life. With this comes some really low and hard days but he is on a journey and we remind him of that often. Joseph is still the same genuine, friendly and charismatic young man that came to us, only now his journey has shifted towards him taking more control of his life and future by taking care of his mental health.