First private sector-sponsored housing program for abused women set to expand

Interval House Toronto expands trailblazing Her Home second-stage housing program to Ottawa and Hamilton.

Toronto, ON – November 27, 2014 – Across Toronto, women who have experienced abuse are finding it increasingly difficult to access safe, affordable housing after they leave an emergency shelter like Interval House. With over 90,000 families on the waiting list it can take 6-8 years to obtain subsidized housing in Toronto.

To supplement the subsidized housing model and help more women, Interval House developed an innovative solution that brought private-sector landlords and women’s shelters together like never before. Today’s event with Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Hon Ted McMeekin MPP, announces the expansion of this trailblazing program to Ottawa and Hamilton.

Interval House Toronto has invested in training, capacity building and partnership coordination to share the Her Home Housing Project with other cities. Now women who access support from Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre and Interval House Hamilton will have the opportunity to benefit from this supplemental housing option.

“We launched the Her Home Housing Project in 2004 as Canada’s first private-sector sponsored second-stage housing program for abused women. It would not have been possible without the extraordinary leadership of the National Apartment Owner’s Consortium (NAOC) made up of Minto Management Limited, GWL Realty Advisors and CAPREIT. We are excited to announce today that we are working with our shelter partners, NAOC and the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) to expand to Ottawa and Hamilton to give more women a real stepping stone to help them rebuild their lives”, said Lesley Ackrill, Interval House Toronto Co-Executive Director.

How does the Interval House Her Home Housing Project work?

  • Housing units are offered by private landlords to Interval House clients at rent-geared-to-income rates for up to one year
  • Interval House supports these women as they transition into their new homes, careers, and lives
  • Women participate in an employment program with the goal of affording market rent after the one-year lease expires.

Why is this important?

  • More abused women and their children can access safe housing after their time of crisis in the shelter
  • Shelters can accept new clients who are in crisis, and whose very lives are at risk
  • Women are offered a stepping stone to independence by alleviating some of their monthly expenses, and allowing them to live and raise their children in neighbourhoods that are not stigmatized by poverty and violence
  • Women can move toward independence while still receiving wrap-around support from Interval House

Why expand beyond Toronto?

  • Across Ontario, women who have experienced abuse are finding it increasingly difficult to access safe, affordable housing. With over 165,000 families on the waiting list, it can take years to obtain subsidized housing
  • Interval House and Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO) are excited to bring this program to shelters outside of Toronto. We will pilot this expansion by bringing on new shelters and landlord partners in one to two more cities in Ontario
  • The Her Home Housing Project expansion Initiative aims to build the capacity of Ontario shelters to provide additional safe, affordable housing opportunities to abused women, that improve the quality of their lives and employment services that empower them towards the achievement of self-sufficiency.

The impact on the lives of women is transformative. The Her Home Housing Project helped build financial stability, for Martha. “From firsthand experience, when you recover from abuse, it’s so important to be able to save up some money,” says Martha. “Mentally, physically, I was so happy to be on my own,” she says. “Seeing myself as somebody that could do things for herself.”

LAUNCH EVENT DETAILS:

When: Thursday, November 27th, 2014, 4-6pm
Keynote Speaker: Hon. Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Where: Greenwin Square, Sculpture Studio, 365 Bloor St. E. (entrance on Huntley Street), Toronto, ON M4W 3L4

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About Interval House
As the first centre for abused women and children in Canada, Interval House is a leader in the campaign for women’s empowerment, providing innovative, specialized services that help abused women and their children transform their lives and break the cycle of violence. Interval House’s holistic approach provides a continuum of services from crisis intervention to re-integration into the workforce and community, giving women and children the chance to rebuild their lives. For more information please visit www.intervalhouse.ca

For more information - including interviews with representatives from Interval House, partners or a survivor of violence who has benefited from the innovative Her Home Housing Project- contact:

Ashleigh Saith
asaith@intervalhouse.ca
416.924.1411 x231