Imagine if you are homeless in Winnipeg and you are a woman, Two-Spirit, trans, or gender non-conforming person. The challenges are immense. But a group of individuals and agencies have been working on this issue, and on September 11th, 2019, released the report: Connecting the Circle: A Gender-Based Strategy to end Homelessness in Winnipeg.
The report focuses on what was learned but maybe just as important, the process that led to the report itself. The process was very much community driven, with stories, and real life experiences, shared. One of the things I learned for example – a major reason women are reluctant to turn for help from social services is because of their fear of losing their children.
Some of the facts the report highlights:
- Women, trans, and gender non-conforming people are not adequately captured in statistics or programs regarding homelessness, they are invisible;
- They are mostly indigenous, have experienced higher rates of violence than homeless men, and are less likely than men to stay in a homeless shelter
- At least 1/3 of those experience homelessness in Winnipeg are women, 11% are 2SLGBTq+.
The report highlights 10 recommendations, which will be the next phase of this project.
- Program/Policy Design/ and Delivery
- Gender based violence
- The Shelter Syastm;
- Social and Affordable Housing in Complete Communities
- Income Security
- Substance Use
- Child Welfare
- Continuum of Health
- Preventing system exits to homelessness.
There were 34 agencies coming together to complete this work, together will those women, Two Spirit, trans, or gender non-conforming that have experienced homelessness, or are homeless.
The work is done in close collaboration with End Homelessness Winnipeg, a 10 year plan to end homelessness in Winnipeg and it will be good to see the next phase of this innovative and needed project. Special thanks to Lorie English and West Central Women’s Resource Centre for hosting, and Lisa Spring, Director of Community Engagement at WCWR.
To see more, and download the whole report, go to http://wcwrc.ca/connecting.the.circle/.