An annual report, showcasing how the YWCA NWT helped women and families stay safe during the pandemic, was released.
Over the past year, they housed 96 families, including 136 adults and 193 children and prevented another 80 families from becoming homeless by paying rent and/or utilities.
YWCA NWT Executive Director Hawa Dumbuya- Sesay says this past year brought unprecedented challenges, stress and uncertainty for staff and the people they serve.
“Our team showed incredible resilience and strength, constantly pivoting and modifying programs and services to help ensure clients felt safe, supported, and heard,” she adds.
Dumbuya- Sesay says staff members distributed 3,062 emergency food hampers and grocery gift cards to 222 families experiencing food insecurity.
The report also highlights how the organization had to quickly shift focus to continue to serve clients within Public Health guidelines.
“Strict health, safety, and cleaning protocols were immediately put in place to keep our clients and staff safe and all programs remained operational, although most were modified to reduce capacity and to adhere to directives,” says Dumbuya- Sesay.
Dumbuya- Sesay says they received federal and territorial support to hire additional staff, purchase personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, and provide essential supplies and food to families in housing programs.
Challenges experienced by NWT families throughout the pandemic were also highlighted by the report.
Dumbuya- Sesay says families were hit hard as the options to self-isolate were minimal, and the YWCA NWT worked to highlight how the pandemic will make the issue of family hidden homelessness even more dire across the territory.
“We supported many families who had had their employment reduced or terminated during the pandemic with food, essential supplies, and rental assistance to avoid eviction,” she adds.
She says the YWCA NWT is proud to have emerged from the unpredictability of the past year on stable ground and proud of the positive impact they have had on the lives of women and families across the territory.
“Through it all, our amazing staff embodied the true meaning of the word resilience, and went above and beyond to provide clients with non-judgemental, ongoing support” she adds.