Temporary Shelter for Women and Children Refugee Claimants
One of the core services we provide is the transitional housing program for recently arrived women and their children. We welcome refugee women from all around of the word. We provide temporary house to around 30 women and children. A transitional housing worker visits the houses to build community offering support in the areas they need: support with medical appointments and other vital settlement needs such as opening a bank account, language classes, etc.
We believe that the refugee experience is a continuum from the moment the refugee decides to leave their country until they become a Canadian citizen… We have developed an integrated model of services for all uprooted people, but offer temporary shelter only to women and children.
We offer temporary shelter (up to one year) to women and children. During this time we offer the following initial settlement services to both the residents in our shelters and to others who come to our office:
- Orientation. We help the women with a basic orientation to life in a new country, where to shop and how to use public transit, etc.
- Legal Assistance. One of the first appointments they must make is with legal aid. We refer them to a good refugee lawyer who will represent them in their refugee case and prepare them for their refugee hearing.
- Social Assistance. The next appointment is with OntarioWorks, to get social assistance for their basic needs and rental allowance, which they pay to us for their accommodation. They are eligible for social assistance as long as they are in school or other training full time.
- Medicals. Medical appointment is necessary to apply for a work permit and a Social Insurance Number. This can take up to three months.
- School. If the women do not speak English, they are enrolled in an English as a Second Language class for adults. If they have children, the children are enrolled in a school near them.
- Women’s programs/Support Groups: On-going information-sharing on issues relevant to women adapting to a new culture.
- In the past, International Cookbooks have been developed from the Community Kitchen Program: Cookbook 2007, Cook-Book 2008.
Coalition of Service Providers in Ontario
The Coalition includes refugee houses and agencies who work with vulnerable populations across Ontario and 2 in the United States. The Coalition meets every 2 months to share information and resources; identify and communicate operational needs; and to raise public awareness of refugee issues.