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Women’s supports in Lethbridge dealing with wait lists, COVID-19 challenges

Click to play video: 'Women’s supports in Lethbridge dealing with significant demand' Women’s supports in Lethbridge dealing with significant demand
The Segue Home for Women recently turned a year old and has seen significant growth. Eloise Therien has a look at the current state of some women’s supports in Lethbridge, and how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact them. – Feb 3, 2022

Operations have grown over the last year for a Lethbridge organization who opened the doors to a brand new women’s supportive living facililty near the end of 2020.

The Segue Home for Women is just one of many programs run by non-profit Streets Alive Mission.

“We went from having a five bedroom home, to a 14 to 17 bedroom home,” said founder Julie Kissick.

“It’s been a learning curve.”

Read more: Supportive housing expansion helping Lethbridge women in need

Segue uses a phased approach to guide women through their recovery from addiction and other challenges.

“Currently we have nine (residents), we just graduated two, and we’re just getting ready to graduate a third.”

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Kissick explained the women are charged a small amount for the supportive housing programming, but that isn’t always possible.

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“When they come out of treatment (or detox), or even off the street, they don’t have the ability to pay,” she said. “So we will just take them.”

While donations are always welcome, Kissick said the organization receives significant support from the community. It doesn’t receive any government funding.

The last year has been a learning curve, but also a success. The women have often had to isolate together due to COVID-19.

Read more: Lethbridge Housing Authority offering assistance during COVID-19 restrictions

“(We have) one girl that’s working, one girl that just started school, one girl we’re holding her and she’s looking for independent living.”

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However Kissick said they do also have a waitlist, something the local YWCA can relate to.

Tracy James, interim CEO of YWCA Lethbridge & District, said they work closely with other community organizations to find accommodations for women and children fleeing domestic violence.

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They have collaborated with services in nearby communities, as well as hotels.

“We do absolutely pretty much everything we can,” she said.

“During this reporting period we turned away to turn away 1,073 women and 312 children basically because there was no space,” she said.

Due to the pandemic, the YWCA had to reduce capacity by half. The emergency housing typically sees people stay three weeks.

James encourages the community to reach out to donate, volunteer, and ask questions about the current need.

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