Firstly, thank you.
Thank you to those who have sent us messages checking in and to those who have donated to NYWS over the last couple of weeks.
As our community, we want to update you on what is happening at the shelter.
Intakes and Capacity During a Pandemic
As you know, after almost 3 years of construction, we just opened in early March. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure the safety of survivors, their children and of staff, we have intentionally slowed the pace of intakes. This has allowed us to practice physical distancing and engage residents in prevention education. Even so, given the scale of intimate partner and family violence in our communities, in less than a month, we are already almost full.
Taking Care of Survivors by Taking Care of Staff
We implemented new at-home working practices for our full-time staff, ensuring only 2 to 4 staff in the building at one time. We have also implemented a Pandemic Hardship Allowance that will support non-management staff during this trying time and support them in making the lifestyle changes needed to be able to come to work; whether it’s alternative transportation, extra laundry or extra mental health supports. This will continue to ensure the safe working conditions for our amazing, dedicated staff team.
Increased Cleaning and Safety Measures
As we mentioned in our last update, we are implementing and promoting high standards of cleaning practices throughout the shelter and an extensive number of safety protocols meant to contain the transmission of infectious disease. Our guidelines include limiting only 5 people in our large common spaces and only single families at a time in our smaller common spaces. Residents participate fully in their own transmission reduction by sanitizing in and out of any common spaces they use.
Now, more than ever, our staff are true SHEros!
Individual Needs and Activities
Your donations have helped us meet the baseline needs of our residents and we are so thankful. We continue to offer programs and services to meet mental health needs, particularly at this time, through activities such as family art classes and small or personal exercise classes. Of course, we are continuing with one-on-one counselling at this unprecedented and traumatizing time.
Social Isolation = Increased Domestic Violence
News of the devastating impact of social isolation measures on those living with violence is everywhere. At North York Women’s Shelter we are very concerned for those trapped for months in homes along with their abuser(s). Domestic or family violence is shown to be made worse by pressures, such as stress and economic instability.
We are working to continue and, where possible, expand supports to survivors in the community; through our crisis line providing safety plans and increasing our capacity to support community clients over the phone.
This is an unprecedented time for everyone on this planet.
We are united in both tragedy and in compassion.
If you have the ability, we ask for your continued support for survivors of violence who are some of the most vulnerable in this crisis.
If you would like to donate there are two ways to do this:
1. Making a financial donation through CanadaHelps
Your financial donations will continue to help: Increased cleaning supplies, staff wages; including staff who are off sick or caring for family members; additional cleaning staff, counselling staff, and overtime for staff, increased grocery needs and alternative transportation.
2. Purchasing an item directly from our needs list here: http://a.co/hGUHYsO
You will have the opportunity to support directly the needs of the residents at NYWS:
Tablets: to help entertain children and women that are in isolation.
Activities and toys: we are creating toy baskets for each child that they can keep that will help us deter the transmission of COVID-19 through shared toys.
Art supplies and yoga mats: to support the mental health of residents through art and exercise.
Medical Supports: We still support women even after they leave NYWS. Please consider purchasing an item off the list to support a past resident who is still undergoing knee surgery during this time. Items include a walker, cane and raised toilet seat.
If you would like to purchase items online, please use Canada Post, and deliver to:
940 Sheppard Avenue West
Toronto, ON M3H 2T6
If you would like to make a donation and drop it off the shelter, please contact Lindsay at email@example.com for drop-off instructions.
We are thinking of all of you, our community, during this time and hoping this finds you safe and healthy. Thank you for continuing to stand with us in supporting survivors of violence.