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CEO’s Letter to the Editor: YWCAs urging housing solutions

 Work together for housing solutions

 Published on: September 14, 2017, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

 The federal National Housing Strategy (NHS) has promised to invest $11 billion over 10 years through the National Housing Fund, Investment in Affordable Housing,and the Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

YWCA Canada and other members of Women’s Shelters Canada (WSC) have joined together to make recommendations for developing effective and equitable policy. The WSC round table discussion in June aimed to ensure women’s specific housing needs are addressed.

An effective NHS must consider the following:

  • Incorporate an intersectional human rights gender approach considering homelessness, poverty, economic insecurity, colonization, racism, ableism, child intervention and violence against women;
  • Recognize “invisible” homelessness for women experiencing violence in their own homes, fleeing violence, or using temporary shelter;
  • Create an Indigenous housing strategy for the specific needs of Indigenous women and their families;
  • Allocate more social housing units for women with disabilities;
  • Make it easier for women to access a continuum of housing services.

We would like to see the National Housing Fund re-establish the shelter enhancement fund, dedicating funds for gender-based violence survivors. We recommend that provincial and territorial negotiations ensure dedicated funds for shelters. Support for a continuum of housing beyond Housing First is needed.

In Saskatoon, we house hundreds of women and families every year at the YWCA, and being able to connect them to safe, affordable, stable housing remains a challenge. We need to work together locally, provincially and at a federal level for solutions.

Shannon Friesen,

CEO, YWCA Saskatoon

Letter of the Day: Work together for housing solutions