Ottawa Awareness Campaign
Women’s homelessness was a crisis long before this pandemic. In fact, the Ottawa Council declared an affordable housing and homelessness emergency in January 2020, months prior to the initiation of any pandemic lockdown measures. And now, COVID-19 is exacerbating the housing challenges that women already face. During this pandemic, women are more likely to experience violence and poverty, be laid off from service jobs, and bear the burden of caretaking. Now more than ever, ensuring access to adequate and safe housing is a fundamental human right.
Shelters play an integral role in meeting this need by providing access to emergency shelter and safe, affordable permanent housing; basic necessities such as food and hygiene products; and social support by way of community events, self-help workshops, and crisis counselling. However, these shelters are being overwhelmed with a surge of women seeking their services due to closure of public buildings and increased incidence of domestic violence. Shelters are also being forced to reduce capacity to observe physical distancing and decrease or discontinue item donation due to risk of contamination.
To address this issue, we need a gender-informed response to COVID-19 that acknowledges the unique challenges faced by women. This includes arming these shelters serving our community at the frontlines with the resources they need. And for this, we need your help!
CWI is currently fundraising for 7 local women’s shelters in Ottawa through our GoFundMe link and raising awareness to the issues women are facing, especially during this pandemic.
Helping Women Now
Women have been disproportionately affected by mass lay-offs and the economic downturn due to COVID-19, many of whom are mothers struggling as they navigate the stresses and new realities that isolation protocols have created.
CWI is working with the organization Dress for Success to support them in their newest initiative, Helping Women Now. Helping Women Now is focused on ensuring that the most vulnerable get the assistance they need immediately and take some of the pressure off of overwhelmed front-line workers.
Our CWI volunteers will engage in one-on-one virtual sessions with women to help them deal with the impact of COVID-19 and create a simple and direct action plan for their most pressing concerns. This will include help navigating government, community, and peer supports, as well as help accessing relevant workshops.