Program set to give single moms a boost


It’s considered the new face of Canadian families – the single mother household.

As the number of single mothers increases, Homeward Bound Halton program is helping single moms break the cycle of poverty and bring them out of homelessness by providing them with a post -secondary education.

Sheridan launched the program earlier this year to provide single mothers not only the opportunity to get a post-secondary education, but also free childcare and affordable housing.

“This program is for single mothers to give them a fresh start, an opportunity to get a post-secondary education with a goal of lifting them out of a cycle of poverty,” said Sheridan’s manager of academic upgrading Paula Green.

This program will help single moms facing tough times get an education and prepare them for a successful career.

“The better the education, the more chances at success and long term employment,” said Green. “Sheridan helps identify programs that have good employment prospects. We want [women] to find employment but also find employment that’s sustainable and rates of pay that are above the low-income level.”

This community-based program is inspired by Toronto’s WoodGreen Community Services initiative of the same name. The program originated in Ireland and was brought to Canada more than 10 years ago.

Homeward Bound Halton is the first replication of WoodGreen’s program and aims to help 15 women by the end of 2016.

“Our hope and goal is if this program is a success we can continue indefinitely,” said Green.

Homeward Bound Halton is coordinated by Home Suite Hope (HSH), a non-profit organization that recruits women for the program through networking in Halton.

HSH does presentations to inform community and other social services about the program and from there they get referrals.

Then the women go through a formal screening process and an academic screening process.

“It’s to make sure that the women are at a necessary academic level to successfully get into post secondary.” said Green. “Sheridan provides the support in terms of access to programs and computers. Students in the program usually come through academic upgrading in order to upgrade skills especially if they have been out of school for some time.”

Along with Sheridan, HSH partners with Oakville Community Foundation, which provides educational funding for the women and Region of Peel that helps the women with childcare and funding for housing.

According to HSH’s website single parent families living in poverty have increased 30 per cent in the last eight years.

Featured in HSH’s Voice for the Voiceless pamphlet was “Linda’s Story”. The short profile demonstrates her excitement in being able to get a post –secondary education for herself and her children. For privacy reasons her name was changed.

“I am going to be the first in my family to go to college, said Linda. “I had been looking into going to college and was overwhelmed with the cost of everything.”

“Getting into this program is going to help me become a valued and competitive applicant in my job market.”