By: Chelsea Perry
In December, The Guardian wrote about the plight of Angela Feener, a Charlottetown woman who has been living out of her car on-and-off for nearly five months now.
Two months since publication, Feener is still hopping between short-term residences, doing whatever she can to keep herself clean, fed, and warm.
The 38-year-old woman had, prior to returning to the Island, spent two months working in Ontario, where she acquired a car. She ultimately made the decision to return after her young daughter, who was living with her at the time, experienced difficulties settling into city life.
“I wanted to come back home where we were more comfortable. I didn’t know there was such a housing crisis,” explains Feener.
The daughter has since gone to live with her biological father.
Feener divulged her past abuse of opioids, and has been clean for eight months now.
“10 months ago I decided to take the next big step in my life to get clean and sober off opioids. It was a long and hard two months of withdrawal, but I did it with no support at the time. I did not go on the methadone program.”
She comments that her past has been a hindrance in finding a long-term housing solution.
In November, the Social Assistance Program (SAP) put Feener in a motel that rented on a month-by-month basis.
She describes the motel as being “a party all the time,” and was concerned that she would slip into old habits if she continued living there.
“The music was so loud my walls would shake. There were drugs throughout the place and I couldn’t take it anymore. I have suffered mental health issues all my life, and I’ve used all the resources available to me to get myself back on track. I was doing so well.”
Feener went on that she was at risk of relapsing if she continued to stay at the motel.
“The cravings were getting too much. Knowing it was there … I couldn’t and didn’t want to relapse when I had worked so hard.”
She left the motel on January 30th.
Feener was then put in the Charlottetown Inn and Convention Center for seven days, and was reportedly told that after that time, she needed to find her own place as the SAP would no longer pay for her room and board.
On February 7th, the woman again contacted the SAP requesting money to cover food and fuel while she hunted for a home. She was denied.
“There will be many who say that I did this to myself. But they have no idea what I’m fighting, trying to keep it together and not relapse. I’m fighting so that I can write my GED and go to college for paramedicine,” Feener says.
“I’ve become very distant because of the stress, and that’s not me. I just need to be in my own space to focus on my goals.”
Island Shelter Contacts
Blooming House (women):
Bedford MacDonald House (men):
Emergency shelter line: