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“Saying Yes” to Abused Women With Mental Health and Addiction Issues

Press Releases

YWCA Canada reports on effective shelter practices to increase safety and reduce homelessness

2014/05/06

Violence continues to be a major driver of women’s homelessness, but a report released today shows how policy and practice innovations are opening shelter doors for abused women with mental health and addiction challenges. The study, Saying Yes: Effective Practices for Sheltering Abused Women with Mental Health and Addiction Issues, documents research by YWCA Canada into changes adopted by violence against women shelters and transition houses to provide wider access for this population of abused women, and reduce their risk of homelessness.

“Saying Yes tells the story of the courageous and innovative work being carried out by women’s shelters across Canada to meet the needs of those women who most need support but have often been excluded because of their struggles with addictions and other mental health issues,” says Judie Bopp, principal investigator on the project. “This story needs to be heard by government and sector services, but also by All Canadians who want to understand how inclusion, respect, compassion and authenticity can build meaningful pathways to a life of dignity for all women and children fleeing violence.”

“This report offers effective lessons that deserve the careful attention of policy makers and service providers,” says Paulette Senior, CEO of YWCA Canada. “It’s absolutely essential and brings service providers and decision-makers whole-heartedly back to the mission of supporting women who survive violence to transition to a place of safety.”

The research study, funded by the federal Homelessness Partnering Secretariat, also investigated the challenges of transferring effective adaptations to more shelters for abused women.

“Historically, many shelters have felt that they couldn’t house women with active substance use and high levels of distress and at the same time maintain a safe, supportive environment,” explains Ann Decter, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at YWCA Canada. “Now we see shelters adapting, innovating and opening the door. This research project shares policies and practices that support wider access to shelters and can ensure no woman in need is denied services.”

To access the report, please visit: Saying Yes

For further information on YWCA Canada or to set up an interview contact Laura Tilley, Manager of Communications at 416.962.8881 x 233.

About YWCA Canada:

YWCA Canada is the country’s oldest and largest women’s multi-service organization.  With 32 Member Associations across the country, our Turning Point Programs for Women™ serve women and girls in nine provinces and two territories. YWCA Canada is the nation’s single largest provider of shelter to women and children fleeing violence, the second largest provider of childcare services, and an active member of the World YWCA. For more information visit www.ywcacanada.ca, find us on Twitter @YWCA_Canada or at www.facebook.com/ywcacanada.

NT4