Wednesday, April 27, 2016

H.E.R. at Boyle

This photo includes staff, moms and babies, volunteers, and sponsors of the H.E.R. program at Boyle Street Community Services.

We gathered in the H.E.R. room, which is located through the Streetworks room, which is located inside the Boyle building - To take a photo with the chair and comms guy from Kinsmen Club. They generously contributed $10K to H.E.R. to help improve services to Boyle's many women and infant clients.


Our homeless population faces many challenges, especially in a place like Edmonton where the complications of living on the streets is compounded by our extreme weather. The homeless women are even further marginalized, without access to feminine hygiene products, bathrooms, diapers, formula, wipes, birth control, etc.

The employees in the H.E.R. program at Boyle are warriors! They help these mothers have healthy pregnancies and through the postpartum period. They help with housing. They help with food bank access. They help with all the aforementioned products that a homeless woman would not have the resources to access on her own. They help advocate on behalf of these women at the doctor. They help take the woman to a doctor. They help get transit tickets for these women to see the doctor! If a client does not have identification (which generally means no health care card), they help with the paper work and applications for those documents. They receive mail on behalf of these women. If you can think of it, they're doing it. They're a voice for a portion of our population that has no voice, and I am so grateful to have these amazing people working in our city.

Healthy moms means healthy babies.

There are lots of complicated and unsavoury reasons why somebody ends up homeless. I can assure you none of these women woke up one day and thought, "You know what - A life on the street sounds like a great long term situation for me and the children I might have!" Absolutely not.

Clients of H.E.R. have faced uphill battle after battle to navigate the system out there. I'm guessing it's fair to say they have likely experienced some lasting trauma during childhood too. And, for somebody who has no safe and comfortable place to live, let alone 3 meals a day and facilities to stay clean, triumphing over complicated administrative technicalities is unlikely.

This is why these women not only deserve our understanding, but our support. Apricity, a committee I serve on, is working with H.E.R. program to help improve awareness and outreach on behalf of these moms and babies. All the front line H.E.R. staff are dealing with triage on a daily basis, so you can imagine they might not have had the time to pull together a comprehensive media strategy and key messages to engage the greater Edmonton community. That's where we come in!

How you can help:

Right now, Boyle Street's H.E.R. program is the recipient of the GIVE'R class at YEG Cycle Spin Studio here in Edmonton! The Friday 6:30 pm class is a $10 drop in, with all proceeds going to Boyle until the end of June.

If you ever wanted to get your book club or have a gathering to hold a little party to collect the following products (size 1 diapers, wipes, formula, pads, tampons, condoms), Boyle street would greatly appreciate your donations! Just send them an email or give them a call to arrange a drop off time. Please use the information we've complied about H.E.R. on our blog to add to your email invites. If you're not available to drop off donations, send us an email and we'll take care of it for you! We know you are busy and are happy to help.

Finally, if you ever wanted to contribute to the endowment we've set up for them, go here to make sure your donation grows and continues to give for years to come.

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