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United Way Impact Update (May 2022)

With your recent donation to the United Way Halifax Community Fund, you are creating a future for our community that includes everyone. Because you donated, you are helping to remove barriers, provide support, and create opportunities for people in your local community who need it most. Thanks to your generosity, there are brighter days ahead for Wael, Rana and their family, and Sam and her children. Keep reading to discover the incredible difference your gift has made in their lives.

Meet Wael & Rana

In Nova Scotia, Deaf people experience some of the highest rates of poverty and isolation compared to hearing people. This is why – thanks to donors like you – United Way Halifax has funded critical programs at the Society of Deaf & Hard of Hearing Nova Scotians for over 25 years.

Imagine fleeing war-torn Syria, spending years living in a refugee camp with three young children, and then arriving in a new country with an unfamiliar language. Now imagine you and your whole family are Deaf.

This is the experience of Wael and Rana, and their now four children who arrived in Halifax in 2016. Upon arrival, they enrolled in a literacy and settlement support program for Deaf and hard of hearing newcomers run in partnership by the Society of Deaf & Hard of Hearing Nova Scotians (SDHHNS) and the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). But Wael and Rana encountered a barrier: they used Arabic Sign Language, not American Sign Language. Fortunately, the organizations worked together to find someone who knew both sign languages and could bridge that communication gap.

In addition to the literacy program, the staff at United Way-funded SDHHNS have been a lifeline for Wael, Rana, and their children, helping them to navigate through an abled world and build independence. Read their full story here. Meet Sam

If you need to put a face to the housing crisis here in Halifax, let it be Sam’s. Her story has a happy ending, but thousands of others are still facing a daily struggle to find housing. Your donation is helping to change that. Between 2019 and 2021, Sam was “renovicted” three times. Each time, she had to uproot her daughters, put their belongings into storage, and find a temporary place to stay while starting the search all over again.

Looking for housing is a full-time job. And as a single mother being compared to other families with two incomes, it can feel hopeless. Luckily, Sam found support from Darcy Gillis, a housing support worker who works with two United Way-funded organizations – Welcome Housing and the Public Good Society. Darcy went to work for Sam right away and got her onto the priority access-list with Metro Housing.

Now Sam, Ellie, and Hazel are proud residents of Uniacke Square which Sam describes as a fantastic community, tight-knit, diverse, and full of life. Being permanently housed can change the trajectory of someone’s life. Sam now has the opportunity to work part-time, focus on improving her future through post-secondary education, and advocate for others in similar situations. Read her full story here. THANK YOU for helping to ensure there are brighter days ahead – for everyone. These stories are two examples, and there are thousands more. We’ll show you in our next impact email, coming to your inbox early this summer. With appreciation,

- your United Way Halifax team

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