The Emergency Housing program of Refuge for Women was established to provide emergency, non-conditional, temporary shelter to women who are either survivors, or at risk, of human trafficking, sexual exploitation, violence, and assault, and to provide them with access to multi-sector services. As the words emergency and non-conditional indicate, the shelters offer immediate, free safe housing for adult women.
The goal of the emergency housing program is to work together with female survivors to:
• Ensure their safety and security.
• Provide tailored, individualized services.
• Empower them to support one another and themselves.
• Develop service plans with them in order to establish or rebuild their support networks and support their reintegration into the community
After admission to the Emergency Housing program, the survivor goes through a reception phase during which she is welcomed and made familiar with the shelter’s philosophy, objectives and services. Survivors in the emergency housing program are offered many different forms of support during their 30 to 90 day stay, including:
• Immediate basic assistance: Including food, clothing, and hygiene items.
• Security: The Emergency Housing program has established security measures, including cameras, fencing, security personnel and gated entry, and establishing direct communication with law enforcement to ensure protection in the event of a security incident.
• Medical care: Including on-call doctors and nurses to provide immediate medical services.
• Psychosocial and Therapeutic Support: Individual therapy is offered to support survivors to develop their capacities to understand their own emotions and learn how best to enter into recovery. Group therapy activities, including substance use disorder treatment, equine and art therapy, daily coaching sessions are part of the psychosocial support program. All psychosocial services are provided in-house and support is available 24/7.
• Case management: Targeted case managers provide survivors with the opportunity to express their needs, priorities and wishes and work with them to develop an individualized service plan. Such plans are designed to facilitate the survivors’ access to health services, mental health and psychosocial support, legal assistance, job placement, vocational training, social services, longer-term housing and other services.
• Education, skills building and job placement: Different educational activities are provided such as vocational training and activities to build life skills, for example in communication skills, stress and anger management, resource allocation and budgeting. They are also encouraged to participate in targeted psychosocial support activities (e.g. pottery classes, jewelry making and painting).
• Peer-to-peer support services: The peer-to-peer support program enables survivors to recognize and appreciate their individual strengths, to support themselves in their recovery and to develop a mentoring relationship with another survivor who has been trained in peer support services.
• Recreation: Weekly activities are offered.