The challenge

Nearly 90% of families using emergency shelters in Canada are headed by single women. Many of them are fleeing violence.


Single mothers face unique challenges in accessing and maintaining safe and affordable housing. Intimate partner violence, lack of childcare options, inadequate social supports and discrimination by landlords can make it extremely difficult for mother-led families to escape poverty. The barriers are even greater for racialized and marginalized communities, particularly for Indigenous women and their children — shelter use by Indigenous children is more than nine times higher than non-Indigenous children.


Instability during early years can have long-term consequences. Research shows that the experience of homelessness during childhood and adolescence is linked to chronic and intergenerational homelessness.


How WoodGreen helps

WoodGreen’s Homeward Bound program works to disrupt the cycle of violence and poverty and create a foundation of hope for mother-led families. Unique in Canada, this four-year education and employment program helps homeless or inadequately housed single mothers achieve financial independence. Each participant is provided with a comprehensive set of supports, including a fully funded two-year college diploma, a furnished apartment for their family, child care, access to mental health counselling, a 14-week internship and job search assistance. These intensive, wrap-around services work to reduce the complex barriers that women face in trying to exit poverty.

Until now, WoodGreen has had 76 apartment units available for this program. We are currently working to triple this capacity by creating a second Homeward Bound campus in Toronto, offering more women and children a chance at a new beginning.



Homeward Bound

Developed by WoodGreen and launched in 2004, Homeward Bound is an award-winning program that supports homeless or inadequately housed single mothers to earn college diplomas, start careers and achieve financial stability for their families. 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.

Learn more