Women’s Health Drop-In Days – providing continued support to women, Trans and gender diverse persons experiencing homelessness in Hamilton

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YWCA Hamilton is proud to partner once again with the Greater Hamilton Health Network (GHHN) to offer free health and wellness services on March 24th and 25th at our MacNab Street location.

These Women’s Health Drop-In Days seek to fill a continued gap in our healthcare system and remove barriers to access for Hamilton’s unhoused population. To better understand the landscape of the homeless population in Hamilton, let’s look to the Point in Time Connection (PiTC) survey from 2021, which found that that women accounted for 32 per cent of people who were homeless in 2018 and that number has increased to 53 per cent in 2021.  That is an alarming increase and draws attention to the need for increased and tailored services for women that factor in trauma, mental health, and other lived experiences.

Throughout the health days, we are able to gain greater understandings of what barriers and concerns women experiencing homelessness face when accessing healthcare services. These barriers can be anything from physical distance, to not knowing how to describe their needs, to fears of judgement from service providers. That’s why it’s so critical to create a safe space for folks to access the care they need and for us to meet them where they’re at.

YWCA Hamilton and GHHN have worked to provide holistic, wrap-around healthcare services including sexual health and HIV testing, Covid-19 vaccines and flu shots, pap smears, wound care, doctor and nurse visits, wellness programming, and Naloxone training. Through generous community donations, we were able to distribute clothing, toiletries, gift cards, and more.

Along with our community partners, YWCA Hamilton had a unique opportunity to collaboratively offer drop in and barrier free health and wellness services to those who may not access traditional models of healthcare for the first time in August 2021, and for the second time in December 2021, offering care to over 140 women at these two events.  This network is working together to ensure health care is accessible for all during the pandemic. Together, with partners, we will continue to offer this innovative model of care dedicated to providing safe and equitable access to those experiencing homelessness, and are grateful to have offered services to over 80 women on March 24-25, 2022.

Women’s Health Days are focused on building meaningful connections to those who are unhoused to prioritize proactive and preventative care, support, and with the intention to learn from those in accessing care.  Women’s Health Days provide safe quality care, food, and giveaways with the ultimate goal of building an integrated, responsive, and equitable healthcare system.

Our thanks and appreciation go out to all partners involved:

Carole Anne’s Place (YWCA Hamilton)

Canadian Mental Health Association- Hamilton

City of Hamilton

De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre

Good Shepherd

Greater Hamilton Health Network

Hamilton Health Sciences

Hamilton Paramedic Service

Hamilton Police Services

Hamilton Public Health

Hamilton Housing Services

Keeping Six

McMaster University

Empowering Dementia-Friendly Communities

Alzheimer Society of Hamilton Halton

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

Shelter Health Network

The AIDS Network

Willow’s Place (Mission Services)

Primary Care practitioners

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