“Time to end Women’s Homelessness,” says Homes for Women Campaign
Poll supports launch of new national campaign and broad coalition
26 February 2013
With new polling information showing more than 50% of Canadians are unaware of the real extent of women’s homelessness, YWCA Canada, the country’s single largest provider of shelter for women, is in the nation’s capital today to launch Homes for Women, a broad-based, long term, national campaign to prevent, reduce and eventually end women’s homelessness. YWCA Canada is joined by Homes for Women campaign partners the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies and Canada Without Poverty-Advocacy Network and supported by the Canadian Labour Congress.
“We are in this campaign until we succeed,” says Paulette Senior, CEO of YWCA Canada, “and with over 100 years of history, we can go the distance. It’s unacceptable that women struggle to live without a safe home. A year ago we reported that homelessness has become a women’s issue. Today, with organizations across the country, we say it’s time to turn this trend around. It’s time to make sure every woman and girl in Canada has a safe place to sleep, every night, in every community. We know it can be done.”
On learning about the extent of women’s homelessness, two-thirds of those in the national survey ranked it as equal to, or more important than, their previous number one concern.
“With depleted social service and health systems no longer providing adequate accommodation, criminal justice and correctional systems are increasingly the only response to women,” says Kim Pate, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies. “Prisons are not an appropriate response to women’s homelessness.”
“Canada needs a national housing strategy now,” says Leilani Farha, Executive Director of Canada Without Poverty-Advocacy Network. “Bill C-400 is before the House of Commons for a vote tomorrow night and we’re calling on MPs to give it their full support. We need federal leadership to make sure the human right to adequate housing is actually implemented in Canada, especially for those most vulnerable to homelessness.”
"Safe, affordable, quality housing is necessary to help women enter the work force or participate in training programs. You need to put down roots in order to grow and flourish," says Barbara Byers, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress. "Governments need to get back in action on housing".
“Poverty in general is complex and women with low-incomes especially feel the brunt of poverty,” says Harriett McLachlan, Board of Directors President, Canada Without Poverty. “In my personal and professional experiences many live in intolerable housing situations, such as being 'forced' to stay with an abusive partner because she cannot afford a place of her own, or choosing between buying food or paying rent, or like myself living with rats for 10 years. In a country as wealthy as Canada this is not acceptable and is in violation of basic human rights.”
Polling showed solid support for both a national campaign to end women’s and girls’ homelessness and a national housing strategy as effective tools for change.
The opinion poll was an online survey conducted by the national research firm Strategic Communications Inc. from February 6th to 8th, 2013, hosted on the Angus Reid forum. The poll's sample is reflective of Canada's actual regional, gender, education and age composition relative to the 2006 Census. A probabilistic sample of this size (2060) yields a margin of error of ±-2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.