Loki was born in 1970 in the country of Norway. He lived in Norway until he was about 12 years old before his family decided to move. He moved to Canada with his mother, father, and twin sibling. They lived on a farm with a few of their extended family members. Growing up on a farm taught him hard work, responsibility, and to be mechanically inclined. His family was religious and held a lot of reverence for Nordic beliefs. They celebrated Norse holidays and upheld traditions. Loki’s foundation as a child was built upon family, hard work, and spirituality.

Loki and his twin brother relied on each other heavily in their daily life. They never had more than regular sibling rivalry and competitiveness. This relationship followed them into school. Although learning some English before moving to Canada, they both learned a new language and attended school in a different country. The biggest hurdle for Loki was the language barrier. Speaking English in Canada was completely different from what he had learned in Norway. Another challenge Loki and his brother faced was bullying.

Photo of a man with long hair and beard crossing his arms and sticking out his tongue at the camera.

Loki, unfortunately, endured the worst of the bullying due to his autism. Through this, they learned to stand up for one another and push back against hurtful things people would say and do to them. School wasn’t all bad for Loki and his brother. Both enjoyed learning and setting goals for themselves. Loki was especially interested in history, science, and math. Throughout high school, his passion for history persisted. When Loki graduated high school, his archeologist grandfather inspired him to go to college. His brother and him packed their bags and left for college at Berkley in California. Loki went on to study anthropology, paleontology, and Egyptology.

During the last few years Loki was in college he also worked at a coffee shop called the black rose cafe. During his time there he made many connections with the regulars at the shop. Including the police officers who were on patrol in the area. When he was close to graduating, a police officer who was close to him told Loki that he would make a good undercover officer. After graduating he made a pivot and decided to get into police work. For a year he worked as a normal police officer. At the end of the year, he worked his way up to being an undercover officer. As an undercover officer, he would travel frequently, leaving him feeling unstable at times. Although he enjoyed his work Loki suffered multiple head injuries and his mental health started to decline. Being an undercover cop, many things he witnessed affected his mental health. Without the proper coping mechanisms, he was becoming easily triggered. Loki decided it was enough and after 6 years he left undercover work to find more stability.

Photo of a man with long hair and beard working with a hammer on a piece of furniture.

Not long after settling down, he found his now former partner. Loki and his partner would go on to have two children together. At first, things went well but their relationship started to decline. Eventually, they separated. When the separation happened, Loki was left to parent their two kids by himself. The three of them struggled with homelessness for 5-6 years. He wasn’t able to afford a place fit for the three of them and it was harder to access resources for him and his two children because he was a single father. Many resources are only put aside for single mothers. Although he faced different challenges, he continued to do his best to provide and find permanent shelter for his children. In 2016 Loki received housing with Housing Hope. Relief washed over him as he finally felt like his options were opening again. He had a place to live, raise his children, and relax.

Loki was content but he still wanted to find something better for his family. He had applied for a section 8 voucher while he was struggling with homelessness. Years later when section 8 opened, he was unsure if he should use it since he was living at Housing Hope. He took his time to think and when he had made his decision to move, it closed. Another number of years later it opened again and the second time around he was ready. Loki jumped and applied for an apartment with his family. He was happy to be able to provide for and get his family to a better place. Loki felt like he could breathe again when his application was approved. He made the place home as much as possible and felt content raising his children there. As time passed, Loki started having problems with the apartments he was staying in. They had been living at these apartments for a few years when Loki started to feel restless. His apartment was nice but the area where the complex is located didn’t feel safe enough to raise a family. He also wanted to be able to have more space for his family. This meant he needed to start saving. Loki wanted to find work, but it had been a long time since he started working. He had to learn to be around people for extended periods and remain patient. As Loki was sorting through his options, he remembered the HopeWorks Training Program. He applied and was surprised about how welcoming and accommodating the staff were. Loki found himself really enjoying the program and learning to communicate with others better. He felt comfortable advocating for himself, and his customer service skills were improving. Loki felt more confident in his ability to work after a few weeks. He also enjoyed repairing furniture that Ron would bring in during Hands-on-with-Ron. It brought him back to when he was younger and would repair furniture with his family. Because of his handiness, Loki would make small repairs to the furniture that came into Renew. If something needed to be tightened, loosened, or taken apart, Loki would do it happily.

Photo of a man with long hair and a beard holding a graduation certificate above his head, in front of a wood wall.

Loki graduated on January 12th, 2023. At his graduation, Loki was described as intelligent, witty, and funny. By the time it was time for him to graduate it was obvious that he had gained more confidence and was surer of himself “Since the first day you came in here and to now, I’ve noticed huge personal growth from you.” Tina, the Director of Renew proudly pointed out to him. Julie, Loki’s trainer also was happy to let him know how much he helped shape the program by bringing awareness to Autism and what his struggles are. “You have helped make the classroom better for all future trainees,” Julie said to him. Loki is moving on to volunteer part-time at a comic book and toy store. He is looking to find employment in retail and with his experience, he is excited to take his next steps.  Loki had this to say about the program “The staff is really helpful. They roll with the punches, and they know how to adapt.” We are so happy to have helped Loki get to where his next steppingstones are.