WoodGreen Community Services

WoodGreen Community Services

November 09, 2005 09:19 ET

WoodGreen continues to build a future for Homeward Bound participants

Toronto-based transition program marks first anniversary with two awards Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 9, 2005) - WoodGreen Community Services continues to plan for the future of Homeward Bound as the organization successfully marks the first year of Canada's first fully integrated transition initiative for homeless women.

Still in the pilot stage, this past year Homeward Bound has helped 30 young mother-led families, who have experienced homelessness in Toronto's shelter system, take their first significant steps toward becoming economically self-sufficient.

Last fall, these women and children entered into Homeward Bound. One year later this innovative initiative continues to gain momentum as a permanent program. Using a holistic approach, Homeward Bound provides families with the tools, skills and supports required to make positive change in their lives, including: housing, child care; IT and life skills training; a 2-year diploma with Seneca College; and guaranteed jobs upon program completion.

The program's primary goal is to help these women move from shelter life to permanent employment with family sustaining incomes in three years.

"The early success of this program proves that providing shelter simply isn't enough - these women need access to a combination of essential services all under one roof to allow them to gain the skills needed to achieve stable and sustainable lifestyles for their families," says Brian Smith, President of WoodGreen Community Services. "The flexible nature of Homeward Bound allows the program to be tailored to these women's needs. As its success continues, we see this model having limitless applications throughout Toronto and across the country."

Homeward bound garners awards
After only one year, Homeward Bound has already been recognized for its leadership in providing innovative solutions to poverty and homelessness. WoodGreen Community Services has been awarded the ONPHA (Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association) Award of Excellence. This prestigious award recognizes non-profit housing initiatives that respond to tenant or community needs with imagination and insight.

WoodGreen and the Homeward Bound program have also garnered international attention at this year's ECDL (European Computer Drivers License) Foundation awards in Zurich, Switzerland. Anne Mercer, a Homeward Bound participant, was recognized for her achievement in attaining the ICDL (International Computer Drivers License) certificate in difficult personal circumstances, with the ICDL "Impacts Lives" award. The ICDL is an internationally recognized standard for computer skills which is taught through Homeward Bound.

Homeward Bound and its supporters
Homeward Bound is a unique, private and public sector collaboration, spearheaded by a significant commitment from prominent Canadian business leader Ed Clark and his wife, Fran.

The Counselling Foundation of Canada; The Ontario Trillium Foundation; Sun Life Financial; East York Rotary Club; Paliare, Roland, Rosenberg, Rothstein LLP; Canadian Tire; and the United Way have also been integral in assembling resources to launch Homeward Bound. As well, the program is supported by municipal and provincial levels of government.

"While an effective mix of public funding and generous private donations has launched this important pilot program, its evolution and growth will be dependent on further private sector partnerships," explains Smith. "As we continue our work with homeless women in Toronto, we look forward to developing deeper relationships with long-term financial supporters."

About WoodGreen Community Services
WoodGreen takes an integrated, street-level approach to building a better Toronto. We offer innovative, long-term solutions to the most critical social issues facing our city today.

As one of the largest social service agencies in Toronto, WoodGreen provides the essentials of life to over 35,000 individuals and families annually. Some of the key areas we focus on include poverty and homelessness, chronic unemployment, childcare, support for seniors, new immigrant settlement, support for individuals living with mental health and developmental challenges, and affordable housing.

A United Way agency, WoodGreen has 15 locations across east Toronto, and serves clients across the GTA. Our mission is to deliver services that promote wellness and self-sufficiency, reduce poverty and inequality, and build sustainable communities.

/For further information: Tamara Stefek, Pilot PMR
Phone: 416-462-0199 ext. 23
Cell: 416-553-7664
Email: tamara@pilotpmr.com

Contact Information

  • Joe Romagnolo, Pilot PMR
    Primary Phone: 416-462-0199 ext. 22
    Secondary Phone: 416-705-1723
    E-mail: joe@pilotpmr.com