Support Services

Support, When And Where It’s Needed

The team invests in the women who come to Sistering, building trusting relationships and providing emotional and practical support.

Sistering operates on a trauma informed and relationship based model and our harm reduction philosophy is a core element of all the work we do: we are here to respond to participants’ needs, where they are at, in the moment, to support them in learning how to reduce harm and/or increase safety, and recognize that their lives have meaning and value.

Community Support Workers

Staff on the Community Support Team assists women with a range of housing and case support needs. This includes short-term housing help such as assistance applying for subsidized housing or searching for affordable market-rent accommodations, as well as longer-term assistance accessing and navigating community resources in the areas of income support, health and mental health, and the criminal justice and immigration systems. Core elements of service provision include ongoing relationship building, informal counselling and emotional support, and community advocacy and accompaniments. Services are provided from an individualized, trauma informed perspective, and women’s self-identified needs and goals are prioritized.

Our programming includes:

Individual counselling
Support groups
Referrals to a broad range of therapies
Information, access, referrals to housing help
Community resource mapping
Budgeting
Income support
Eviction prevention
Assistance applying for subsidized or market-rent housing
Housing outreach, case management and personal advocacy
Support to live in affordable housing
In partnership, self-contained apartments in four locations

Hostels To Homes Pilot Project

In a unique collaboration with Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC) and
 funded by City of Toronto Shelter, Support & Housing Administration, Sistering and PARC’s Follow-Up Support Program is assisting chronically homeless women to stabilize their housing through a Coordinated Care Planning framework. Using our client-centred, harm reduction and trauma informed approach, this pilot project:

Supports the development of life skills
Offers income support
Reduces social isolation
Addresses mental health and addictions issues
Addresses impacts of past trauma
Provides landlord mediation
Strengthens community connection

Sistering and PARC’s barrier-free models of community access will ensure continued support beyond the pilot project.

"…the vast majority of homeless women have experienced some form of violence…This in turn leaves women vulnerable to re-victimization on the street compounded by the violence and trauma of homelessness itself."

—The YWCA’s 2013 “Housing First, Women Second?” study

Community Support 2016

Housing Referrals

685

Shelter/Hostel Referrals

1,652

Income Support Assistance

1,402 women

Number of Accompaniments

3,500

"Women cannot start the healing process until they can put food on the table, a roof over their children's heads and clothes on their backs. Energy and time must be spent helping women find safe and affordable housing, access legal services, deal with transportation issues and obtain family benefits and other services to which they are entitled."

—Public Health Agency of Canada