Auberge Madeleine, Plateau Mont-Royal, Montreal
Although often less visible to the public than homelessness among men, homelessness affects a growing number of women as well.
To help women at risk the LÉGER FOUNDATION and l’Auberge Madeleine have partnered to launch an intensive support program for women in crisis, like Svetlana.
When she arrived in 2007 Svetlana knew little about how her new country or where to turn for help. The combination of linguistic, social and cultural barriers left her feeling isolated and alone with the troubles in her life.
“In my culture, a woman must stay with her husband no matter what, even through physical and psychological violence. I didn’t see a way out. But one day I called the CLSC anyway, and when the worker asked me what was wrong I started crying. I couldn’t stop. It hit me then just how isolated I was, without family or friends, and that I was scared for my children, and that I didn’t know what to do,” she explains.
L’Auberge Madeleine in Montreal offers shelter and accommodation as well as support for women in crisis situations. Cristina has been a support worker there for 10 years and has this to say about the program: “The goal of this initiative is to help women like Svetlana who are facing the imminent risk of homelessness for the first time, so they can safely extricate themselves from a crisis situation and find the resources they need to make this important life transition. To do this, intensive, regular support is required.”
One of the biggest challenges for Svetlana was to recognize her rights as an individual to protect herself, even over her responsibilities as a mother.
“Even though it was hard to be away from my children for a period of time, and to tell them what was going on, this step was a necessary part of the process. Today I feel I have the courage and strength to face anything,” she explains.
Cristina has no doubt about the urgent need for this project and the positive impact it is already having. “As you can see in Svetlana’s case, this program empowers women with the tools they need to take charge of their life, with very positive results.”
Thanks to the l’Auberge Madeleine’s partnership with the LÉGER FOUNDATION, close to 50 women have benefitted since January last year.
This article is from the winter 2017 edition of the HOPE FOR THE HOMELESS newsletter. To read the full version of the newsletter and discover all the documents published by the LÉGER FOUNDATION this year, visit the Publications section of our website.