Peel staff seek approval to fund additional beds at this female-only residence in Brampton

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The Region of Peel does not currently have any female-only emergency shelters, which is why Peel’s housing and homelessness committee hopes for the region to commit to additional funding at Ellen’s House, a residential facility for women in Brampton, operated by the Elizabeth Fry Society of Peel.

On February 6, 2020, Peel’s housing and homelessness committee expressed their desire for the region to commit to funding eight emergency shelter beds at Ellen’s House for single women aged 25 and up who are transitioning out of the correctional system. 

Approval from council would award a contract for eight emergency shelter beds for single women to the Elizabeth Fry Society of Peel-Halton, which would use space at an existing Elizabeth Fry facility in Brampton.

The Region of Peel currently operates three adult shelters, Wilkinson Road Shelter (Wilkinson) in Brampton, Cawthra Road Shelter (Cawthra) in Mississauga and the Peel Family Shelter in Mississauga.

Although Cawthra Road Shelter provides services for women without children in the region, it also houses men.

The absence of female-only emergency shelters was noted by a Human Services report and represents a gap in homelessness services in the Region of Peel.

The limited availability of shelter services for single women represents a gap in social supports for homeless women in Peel,” read the report.

As a result, some women may remain in, or enter into unsafe or unhealthy arrangements. Homeless women are constantly at risk for physical and sexual assault.”

A study in Toronto reported that more than one-third of visibly homeless women had been physically assaulted, and over 20 per cent sexually assaulted in the preceding year,” continued the report.

The contract would be for a period of one year, with four optional 12-month extensions and an annual operating budget of $300,000, exclusive of applicable taxes.

This would allow for services that would be available 24/7 on-site.

According to the report, staff will also be exploring opportunities to expand shelter services at this site beyond the initial eight beds and will return to council with recommendations once developed.

If approved, these beds would be available by summer 2020 and provide immediate relief for single homeless women in Peel who currently have no shelter options in their community.

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