On Giving Tuesday on November 28, 2017 the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation is proud to be supporting an innovative new program in Edmonton, Pregnancy Pathways.
Help Us Take the Number of Homeless Pregnant Women in Edmonton from 100 to None
Pregnancy Pathways is a unique partnership aimed at addressing the unmet housing and support service needs of these women who are also in many cases struggling with addictions and mental health issues. Every year in Edmonton approximately 100 homeless, pregnant and parenting women are in desperate need of housing, health and social supports. The vast majority are of Aboriginal descent.
Did You Know there are approximately 100 pregnant and parenting homeless women each year in the City of Edmonton?
Though there are programs that work with pregnant vulnerable women already in the City of Edmonton, Pregnancy Pathways is different in that it removes one of their most significant barriers, affordable housing while simultaneously providing wrap-around supports that will enhance each woman’s path to greater stability and independence.
Pregnancy Pathways is a collaboration of some 25 organizations in Edmonton from acute health care, addictions, mental health, government and non-profit sectors.
Vulnerable homeless pregnant women often do not access health care and other supports consistently due to their mental health and addictions, precarious housing situation, lack of knowledge about services and/or fears that their babies may be apprehended by Child and Family Services. We need your support to ensure these women receive the support they need in one central place free from judgement and the fear of having their children taken from them.
Pregnancy Pathways will provide a Wellness Coordinator to work with partner agencies to access health, counselling, income and other supports and monitor progress with each woman, Peer Specialist, with lived experience, to support and mentor women, and a Housing Support Worker to build life-skills, address parenting needs and helping to build a sense of community in the building.
When women do not receive the prenatal care that they need they end up in the hospital just before giving birth without adequate care. This often results in undernourished mothers and underweight and unhealthy babies who need neonatal intensive care. A poor start in life is often an indicator of future vulnerability.
For many women, reconnecting with their culture is important to building wellness. Pregnancy Pathways partners include Bent Arrow, Native Counselling Services and Metis Child and Family Services.
The Pregnancy Pathways Committee is working to secure a 12-unit apartment building that is affordable and safe for these women. Women will not only be provided a roof over their head they will also work with program providers who will help them to identify achievable goals, link them to health care, including detox and treatment, and build life and parenting skills.
Women are able to stay in the program for approximately one year. Prior to leaving the program, coordinators will ensure the woman has access to affordable housing and ongoing supports, as needed.
The women will be provided assistance to apply for income support, secure government ID, open a bank account and explore opportunities for further education, training and employment. With a commitment to a harm reduction, strength-based, culturally sensitive program our hope is the women will be supported in every way possible.
The objective of Pregnancy Pathways is healthy women and healthy babies with a better chance for everyone to meet their potential. Through the program, mothers will also be better able to make a decision about raising their baby, finding other ways to become involved in their child’s life or choosing adoption or foster care for their newborn.
For detailed program information please contact:
Wendy Bouwman Oake
Program Manager, Pregnancy Pathways and Director, BMHC Pathways to Housing Edmonton
10742-95 Street, Edmonton, AB T5H 2C9
Steering Committee Members include: Alberta Health Services, Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, Boyle McCauley Health Centre, Catholic Social Services, City of Edmonton, E4C, Homeward Trust, Metis Child and Family Services, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Streetworks, University of Alberta, YMCA of Northern Alberta, and YWCA of Edmonton.
Network of Supporters includes: Alberta Home Visitation Network Association, Bissell Centre, Canadian Mental Health Association, Edmonton Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, Native Counselling Services of Alberta, REACH Edmonton, Terra Centre, Wings of Providence.