Homeless Women Receive Warm Welcome from Community
As International Women’s Day approaches, 25 local women will celebrate by moving into their new home. As a charity that is committed to ending homelessness we are happy to welcome women into our newest shelter: Fatima House.
The shelter is re-locating from 86 Lombard Street to the 1059 College Street site.
Fatima House is a newly-renovated, accessible and pet-friendly shelter that will serve as a temporary home for up to 52 women (the current occupancy is reduced due to COVID-19 precautions). The shelter will offer meals, counselling and healthcare services, as well as housing support. Staff onsite will work with the women to help them move on to permanent, affordable housing.
Sometimes new shelters like Fatima House are met with resistance from local residents. But in this case, there has been an outpouring of compassion and encouragement from the community – from donated welcome baskets, to offers of volunteer support.
A student group from the nearby St. Mary Catholic Academy (SMCA) created personalized welcome cards for the shelter’s incoming residents – featuring messages, inspirational quotes and poems. SMCA Student, Beatriz N., remarked, “I hope the cards can make the women feel happy, and I hope they know that there are other women looking after them in the community.”
There is a growing number of women in Toronto experiencing homelessness, using shelters, and women-led families precariously housed.
In addressing the need for shelters like Fatima House, Sylvia Braithwaite, Director of 24-hr Services at Fred Victor, says, “People deserve to have a space where they can get help when they’re in crisis.” She continues, “If they can come into a clean, beautiful space with resources, and a welcoming community, it tells them they are being treated with dignity – and they deserve to have a space like this to get back on their feet.”
An ongoing community engagement process has been integral to the positive response from area residents. A Community Liaison Committee, facilitated by the City of Toronto, has provided resident representatives, businesses, and community organizations with opportunities to be involved in the successful integration of the shelter into the neighbourhood.
Fatima House is a municipal shelter and receives City and provincial funding. The building is being leased to Fred Victor by the landlord for use as a shelter.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Give a Women a Heartfelt Gift
Moving into a place like this is an exciting time and a big moment for the women. However, for many of them, Fatima House may be their first home in a long time. We are inviting all readers to make a donation today that will go toward Fatima House Fund – a heartfelt gift that includes all the basic necessities for someone starting over and moving forward.