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Four staff members represented Interval House at the 2nd World Conference of Women’s Shelters in Washington, DC in February. The conference was a great chance for us to learn about what’s going on in organizations from across the globe.
We went to workshops on topics like mental health, housing, child abduction, and human trafficking and we took away useful knowledge that will help us improve our services here in Toronto. We also delivered a workshop called “Fundraising Basics for Women’s Organizations” and connected with shelters in Africa and the Caribbean who are looking to build their fundraising programs.
The conference held a Canadian Roundtable where shelter workers from across the country gathered to talk about the particular issues we are facing. The most common problem was the lack of affordable housing that keeps women living in shelters or second stage housing. Programs like our Opening Doors Portable Housing Subsidy are a step in the right direction, but without more affordable housing options, shelters are often forced to turn women away.
Speaking to organizations from other regions gave us a new-found appreciation for the support we have in our community. While some shelters struggle to create programs, or even keep their doors open, our generous donors allow us to provide innovative services that meet our clients’ needs.