A safe home is a human right. Count women and girls in.

YWCA Canada calls for a gender lens on Canada's National Housing Strategy

TORONTO, Oct. 24, 2016 /CNW/ - Releasing their brief, Counting Women and Girls In to the National Housing Strategy, today, YWCA Canada's Homes for Women Campaign called for the National Housing Strategy to increase access to safe, affordable housing for women and programs and services addressing homelessness of women and girls. Submitted to the federal government's National Housing Strategy consultations, the brief continues the work of YWCA Canada's Homes for Women Campaign to prevent, reduce, and ultimately end homelessness for women and girls in Canada.

"Where housing and homelessness of women and girls is concerned, failure to include a gender-based analysis can be a matter of life and death," says Ann Decter, YWCA Canada Director of Advocacy and Public Policy. "With lower incomes and longer lives, women need affordable housing across the age spectrum. Eight out of ten single parents are women. Women need affordable housing with room for kids. To be effective, this strategy must count women and girls in, and recognize intersecting factors that impact their access to safe housing."

"We have evidence that integrating a gender lens is integral to meeting the needs of women and girls for safe, affordable housing from coast to coast to coast. We have voices of girls and women who have lived through homelessness informing us of what it's like to be left out," says Shelley Yeo, Chair of All Our Sisters. "It's time that we listen, learn and use this opportunity to find solutions to homelessness so that every child and their mother has a safe place to call home.  Investment in homes is investment in future generations."

Counting Women and Girls In calls for a northern housing strategy for women and an Aboriginal strategy with a gender lens, developed with leadership from Indigenous women's organizations such as the Native Women's Association of Canada.

"Violence is a major driver of women's homelessness," Ann Decter adds, "forcing women and girls to leave home. Shelters are full and turning away women and children. Safety requires that, across the country, all women have access to shelter including women in the northern territories, women with disabilities, Indigenous and racialized women, young women and girls. And women must be able to leave shelters when their ready, and live safely in the community. The National Housing Strategy needs a gender lens to take all of that – and more – into account."

Counting Women and Girls In is endorsed by Homes for Women campaign partners working nationally on women's homelessness, housing and safety such as All Our Sisters, the Canadian Network of Women's Shelters and Transition Houses, and the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies. It has the support of the Right to Housing Coalition and the Lived Experience Advisory Council, and local partners Calgary Legal Guidance, Women's Community House, London and Canadian Mental Health Association Middlesex.

To view the brief, visit ywcacanada.ca or homesforwomen.ca.

About YWCA Canada:
YWCA Canada is the country's oldest and largest women's multi-service organization. Our 32 Member Associations serve women and girls in nine provinces and two territories. YWCA Canada is the nation's single largest provider of shelter to women and children fleeing violence. YWCA Canada initiated the campaign Homes for Women | Toits pour elles to draw attention to women's homelessness and lack of access to affordable housing, the impacts on violence survivors and the need for gender-appropriate responses. Housing programs operated by YWCA Canada's Member Associations provide permanent and transitional housing to almost 2000 women and families. For more information visit www.ywcacanada.ca, find us on Twitter @YWCA_Canada or at www.facebook.com/ywcacanada.


Image with caption: "Counting Women and Girls In to the National Housing Strategy: Brief to the National Housing Strategy Consultations (CNW Group/YWCA Canada)". Image available at: https://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20161024_C4511_PHOTO_EN_801958.jpg

For further information: For interviews: Laura Tilley, Communications Manager, YWCA Canada, 416- 962-8881 x 233.


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