Today, on International Women’s Day, we celebrate women’s achievements while recognizing that last year, in the 2021 Administrative Count, 28% of people experiencing homelessness in Calgary were women.
Women face unique challenges while experiencing homelessness. Women are more likely to suffer physical, emotional, and sexual violence, and it is more difficult for them to access healthcare products and services when they are menstruating or pregnant.
To mark this International Women’s Day, here are two ways you can support women as they overcome barriers and find their way home:
- Ask yourself: is a woman I know experiencing homelessness?
Do I know someone who is couch surfing with family or friends because they don’t have a home?
Women are more likely to live in temporary accommodation, because living on the streets or in shelters increases their risk of sexual exploitation, abuse, and violence.
If you know a woman without a home, direct them to SORCe or the Safe Communities Opportunity Resource Centre, a hub that connects people experiencing homelessness to important programs and services.
- Support women-serving organizations in Calgary
Several agencies in Calgary run programs designed to help women experiencing homelessness. When you support these agencies, you help women connect to the housing and resources they need to lead full and independent lives.
Calgary Alpha House Society runs a Women’s Housing Program that provides women with a safe place to live while they address mental health challenges or substance misuse.
Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Society has a Community Housing Program that helps women find safe housing in the community, so they don’t have to return to their abusers.
The SHARP Foundation operates The Croydon, a housing program that provides integrated care and support for women living with complex health and social challenges.
Trellis runs The Maple, a housing program for women who have experienced chronic homelessness.
YW Calgary offers a wide range of services and programs to support women in the city.
Women In Need Society operates several thrift stores across Calgary to provide basic needs and support to women.
Elizabeth Fry Society provides support and advocacy to women involved in the legal and justice systems.
For International Women’s Day, let’s empower women on their journey towards independence and an improved quality of life. Each woman we support on the journey home brings us closer to a gender-equal world where every woman can thrive.