One of Lookout Society’s guiding visions is that each person we help is unique and has their own story of homelessness. Lookout staffers Dan and Lindsy are examples of that.
While they often share the same work computer at the Front Room in Surrey assisting many of the same clients and have both experienced homelessness and addiction, Lindsy and Dan walked different paths to get where they are now.
Dan was a functioning addict, by day working the same no-where job for 32 years and at night getting high.
Lindsy, on the other hand, found himself on the street as a teenager. He lived the life of a homeless addict for 20 years. The closest he came to a home during that time was a prison cell.
“Drugs consumed my life and I burned it to the ground,” says Lindsy. “I had dug such a huge hole for myself that I couldn’t see the sky above me.”
While Dan held down his job in Surrey while secretly living the life of an addict, Lindsy ended up on the Downtown Eastside, living underneath a bridge. Occasionally he visited a shelter for food, clothing and blankets.
“I finally left the Downtown Eastside because I didn’t want to die there,” says Lindsy. "I didn’t want my body to be found in the alley behind the Carnegie (Community Centre) or the Bosman Hotel.”
His epiphany came when he attended a memorial service for a fellow homeless addict. Aside from himself, a few shelter workers and a social worker, no one else showed up for the memorial.
When Dan’s addiction caught up to him, his life fell apart quickly. He lost his job, his wife left him and the streets became his new home.
“I lost everything I had built up. It happened like that,” says Dan.
Both men started turning their lives around after completing first stage recovery. Soon after that their lives crossed paths. By happenstance, each moved onto Lookout’s Foundation Recovery Home in Surrey, at the time run by Keys Housing and Health Solutions. They were the first residents and the home’s monitors at the 2nd stage supportive recovery house.
After seeing Dan and Lindsy’s potential, Keys secured scholarships for the two at Stenberg College, where they attended the Community Mental Health and Addictions program.
Keys, now merged with the Lookout Society, then hired the two as stabilization workers. Their lived experience and educational background equips them to quickly connect and assist clients effectively. Working for Lookout also provides ongoing therapy for Lindsy and Dan.
“I would say this job has saved me, it really has,” says Dan. “I’ve come a long way since having nothing.”
Those thoughts are echoed by Lindsy.
“I absolutely love my life today,” he says. “I have great passion for the work I get to do today and the people I serve.”