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International student determined to get her life back despite facing homelessness and losing leg

Every homeless person has a different story, no matter where they come from.

Dianne Munnings came all the way from the Bahamas four years ago to study to become a teacher's aide so she could take care of seniors.

The 50-year-old never dreamt she would end up in a Moncton homeless shelter.

“I'm here alone. I'm in Canada and I have no family. I was in the hospital for five months and it was very traumatic,” said Munnings.

During COVID-19, Munnings found out she was diabetic.

A blister on her ankle wouldn't heal, and the infection wouldn't go away, so her right leg was amputated at the knee.

The hope is to return to school, but for now she can't support herself, and she has nowhere to go.

Life inside a shelter is unlike anything she's ever experienced before.

“The processing, the adjusting, It's hard because you're dealing with a lot of different personalities that is very challenging,” said Munnings.

She has children in the United States, but they don’t have the means to come see her.

She’s thought about going home to the Bahamas, but doesn’t think it’s a good idea.

“I wouldn’t be able to do the job that I did before and there’s no such thing as working from home there,” she said. “There’s not really anyone there who can help me as an amputee.”

Munnings has also dealt with the threat of deportation, but that's not looming at the moment.

Munnings doesn't have her student status anymore, so she's reached out for help.

The New Brunswick Refugee Clinic wouldn't comment directly on Munnings’ case, but did say they can provide services to help people who are in a similar situation.

Case coordinator Stephanie Melanson said they meet with clients and give legal advice if they think it's a good option for them to claim asylum in Canada.

“Afterwards, we can help them fill out important forms. Fill out their online refugee portal and then thereafter prep them for their hearing,” said Melanson.

Melanson said access to social assistance and access to housing and affordable housing are major barriers facing newcomers to the province right now.

Finding housing has been a process for Munnings. She's also on a wait list for a prosthetic limb from the War Amps of Canada.

For the sake of her mental heath, Munnings says she’s trying to get her life back.

She says her best case scenario is to get out of the shelter.

“Get out of here,” she said. “Get back up on my feet. Get back in school and just move forward.”

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