Launched by WoodGreen in 2004, Homeward Bound is an innovative program that supports homeless or inadequately housed single mothers to earn college diplomas, start careers and achieve financial self-sufficiency. Unique in Canada, this four-year education and employment program provides intensive wrap-around services that eliminate the barriers that single mothers face in trying to move out of poverty.
Homeward Bound offers participants a comprehensive set of supports:
- Academic upgrading program for college entrance
- Fully funded two-year college education in a marketable field
- Affordable furnished housing — see details below
- Goal-oriented case management
- Child care and after-school programs, including tutoring and mentorship
- Access to mental health, parenting and family counselling
- 14-week unpaid internship to gain work experience
- Job search support and networking opportunities
- Single mothers (age 19+), living separately from partner/spouse
- Risk and/or history of homelessness
- Limited or no access to education and employment
- Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident, or Convention Refugee
- Contact information of a referral (from a shelter, clergy, social program, etc.)
- Child(ren) must be 17 years old or under with a maximum number of three children total
- At least 1 child must be living with the mother
- Capable of reaching college readiness within 4 – 6 months
- On or eligible for OW, ODSP or EI
- No current criminal proceedings
- Provision of a recovery plan, if there is a history of substance abuse/addiction
- Able to participate in a full-time program
- Please note: Homeward Bound does not provide emergency housing. Acceptance into the program depends on the current or anticipated availability of housing, which may vary throughout the year.
The program has four phases:
Academic upgrading for college entrance; skill development, including life skills, financial literacy and computer skills
Two-year diploma options in the following areas:
- Early Childhood Education: Early Childhood Educator (ECE)
- Computers: Computer Programmer or Software Engineering Technician
- Business: General Business, Finance, Insurance, Operations, HR, Office Administration, etc.
- Law: Office Administration Legal, Law Clerk
- Retail Management
- Construction: Construction Technician
Transitions to Success
Employability skills training; job search workshops delivered by Industry Council partners; industry specific computer skills training; housing search support
Internship, Employment and Exit
14-week unpaid internship facilitated by Industry Council partners; networking opportunities; job search support to secure sustainable employment
Over four years, participants gain the skills, education and employment experience necessary to achieve financial stability and independence.
Homeward Bound Housing
Homeward Bound provides participants with safe and affordable Rent-Geared-to-Income housing throughout the four-year program, as well as access to a Housing Worker for tenancy supports and community programs. Two- and three-bedroom family units are available for program participants and their children (age 17 or younger).
Note: Housing locations are confidential.