YWCA Family Outreach is a true long term relationship. As we began working with families, we realized that continuing our relationship after they find housing is just as important as helping them find a permanent home.
The program was developed to assist families who access the YWCA shelter to find safe, secure housing; then to provide outreach support to maintain housing. The YWCA acts as an advocate with landlords, Social Services, and Income Security during the time a woman is residing at the shelter and up to a year after she leaves.
Outreach worker Alanda Root explains: “If I can prevent an eviction from happening by advocating for clients in the community, this will save the moms and their children from the disruption of having to return to a shelter. If a housing situation is not working out, I work with the client so she stays in good standing with her landlord. I also assist clients with budgeting, grocery shopping and appointments.”
This ongoing support is the key: families are not returning to shelter living and are not experiencing extra stress and disruption.
The caseload for family outreach is growing constantly: “In the first 18 months of the three year pilot, we assisted 104 families and housed 87 families. I work with 5 to 6 clients within the shelter on an ongoing basis at all times. I work with at least 15 to 20 families living in the community and the list expands as each family moves into the community,” says Alanda.
The YWCA Family Outreach Program is funded through private donations and Saskatchewan Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP).
The YWCA Crisis Shelter is open 365 days a year as a safe haven for women and children in Saskatoon who are facing hardship and poverty, and need access to services and supports.
Photo: Dave Stobbe