4 min read
03 April 2024

Raising Awareness of Homeward Bound at Queen’s Park

Danielle Mulima, Assistant Public Affairs Manager

On February 27, WoodGreen hosted a breakfast reception at Queen’s Park to spread awareness about Homeward Bound program. Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) from all parties were invited. They had the opportunity to talk with organizations that run Homeward Bound programs across Ontario, graduates of the program, and industry partners. The reception had a great turnout and politicians left feeling excited about the program and the potential growth of Homeward Bound across the province.

BLOG - Read how Homeward Bound had a positive impact on a single mother and her child

Eileen Gittens (Industry Council), Maple Kyriacou (Industry Council), Minister Michael Parsa, Anne Babcock (WoodGreen), MPP Mary-Margaret McMahon (Beaches-East York), MPP Stephanie Bowman (Don Valley West)

Homeward Bound changes the lives of single mothers and their children

Homeward Bound programs support single mothers to permanently transition from social assistance to stable employment in high-demand fields. The program provides wrap-around comprehensive supports to low-income women-led families, 80 per cent of whom have faced domestic violence or other trauma. Over four years, the program provides women and their children affordable housing, child care, a fully funded two-year college education, and internship and employment opportunities.

Over the past few months, WoodGreen and staff from Homeward Bound programs across the province met with MPPs and ministers to advocate for funding. In the meetings, the MPPs and ministers voiced their support, and many wrote letters of support for the program and the unique wrap-around support Homeward Bound provides. To continue to increase support for the program, we held the reception and allowed MPPs and ministers to talk directly with program staff, graduates and Industry Council partners.

MPP Logan Kanapathi (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services), Randall Freeborn (WoodGreen), Azfar Islam (WoodGreen)

More than 35 MPPs were in attendance at the Queen's Park event

At the reception, over 35 MPPs talked to staff from Homeward Bound programs in Toronto, Peterborough, Halton, and Brantford, as well as Durham Region where Homeward Bound hopes to expand to next. MPPs also heard directly from Homeward Bound graduates and employers who have hired Homeward Bound participants.

MPPs learned about the impact Homeward Bound has had on participants. They heard that nearly one in two participants are housed in a shelter and around 80 per cent are unemployed when entering the program. However, by the end of the program, 92 per cent of participants living in a shelter when they began Homeward Bound, now live in market rental, subsidized housing, or own a home. Also, the employment rate amongst participants entering Homeward Bound was six per cent compared with 87 per cent up to five years after graduation. Graduates shared how the program improved their lives and their children's lives.

Ayò Òrògún (Homeward Bound Graduate)

Pierre Jr Gendron (Industry Council)

Homeward Bound graduates and Industry Council members share their experiences

Ayò Òrògún, a graduate of the Homeward Bound program, spoke to the MPPs and ministers present about her experience going through the program and how staff supported her through every step. Pierre Gendron spoke about his involvement with Homeward Bound’s Industry Council. The Industry Council consists of employers who provide workshops, mentoring, and job opportunities to Homeward Bound participants. Gendron shared how he works to connect Homeward Bound participants to jobs in the construction sector.

Minister Michael Parsa (Minister of Children, Community and Social Services)

Minister Parsa, the Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services shared with attendees his support for the Homeward Bound program and his appreciation for the wrap-around approach. Also, MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos (Oakville-North Burlington), MPP Mary-Margaret McMahon (Beaches-East York), and MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) shared their support for the continuation and expansion of Homeward Bound.

Charmalee Harris (Durham Region), Christina Atkinson (WoodGreen), MPP Robert Bailey (Sarnia-Lambton)

We thank all the MPPs and ministers and their staff for showing support for Homeward Bound. We will continue to advocate for funding for Homeward Bound programs so these great programs can be sustained and expanded to support more women across Ontario.

Do you want to learn more about the Homeward Bound Program?

Visit this webpage.

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