How a resource centre is continuing to help women in Winnipeg during the pandemic
WINNIPEG -- A women's resource centre in Winnipeg has continued to find ways to help its community during the pandemic, despite limitations put in place from the public health restrictions.
Lorie English, executive director of the West Central Women’s Resource Centre, said when public health guidelines came into place last year the organization had to quickly find ways to provide services without having a large volume of people at the centre.
She said this meant moving some services online, but it also meant switching to an outreach model.
“It meant we were going to our community members, rather than asking them to come to us,” English said, noting the centre started taking its outreach van to the street seven days a week.
With this van, the organization is able to drive out to areas where they know women are experiencing homelessness and offer items such as hot food, hygiene and harm reduction supplies, masks, hand sanitizer, blankets, clothes and shoes.
Janis Ducharme, an outreach coordinator for the women’s resource centre, said they are also able to get updates on the health and well-being of their community members.
“One of the most important services that we do provide is connection,” she said.
“Myself and other outreach workers, we provide care, compassion and understanding. We all need to know we’re cared about, right?”
KEEPING THE OUTREACH VAN ON THE STREET
English said when the pandemic hit, the organization was able to get funding to get the van on the road seven days a week.
“What we saw very quickly was a real need for that van,” she said.
“We’re one of the only vans that are on the road seven days a week, and one of the very few that are specifically looking for women who are unsheltered.”
English said the need still exists to have the outreach van seven days a week, but without that same funding in place, they need donations.
“It is very clear that this is a much-needed service in our community,” Ducharme said.
“So we want to keep it going.”
More information on how to donate can be found online.
- With files from CTV’s Katherine Dow.