Homeward Bound Urban Indigenous Feasibility Project

New evaluation funding & successful second year for Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound Feasibility Project

This year WoodGreen was a member of the first cohort of grantees to successfully receive funding from the Province of Ontario's new Local Poverty Reduction Fund, administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. This funding enabled WoodGreen to hire a new Manager of Business Analytics who will support in-house monitoring and evaluation of Homeward Bound and is funding a 3 year evaluation of the new Transitions to Success phase of Homeward Bound which participants complete after graduating college and prior to starting internships.

WoodGreen's Homeward Bound replication partners made significant strides over the past year. The Halton Homeward Bound led by Home Suite Hope welcomed their second cohort of participants into the program. Brockville's Employment and Education Centre and the Peterborough Housing Corporation both advanced local partnerships and planning to bring their communities one step closer to launching local programs.

0 Friendship Centre Communities continue to be involved and are looking at program development: Dryden, Timmins, London, Hamilton, Niagara & Fort Erie
More than 0 community stakeholders and leaders were engaged in the Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound Feasibility Project
$0,000 in Poverty Reduction funding to evaluate the Transition to Success model

The Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound Feasibility Project had a successful second year of activities with all of the communities originally engaged participating in the review and adaptation of WoodGreen's Homeward Bound model for the urban Indigenous context.

Sally Ledger, the Executive Director of the Dryden Native Friendship Centre had this to say about the program, "The WoodGreen Homeward Bound program model - of complete wrap around services which meet the essential needs of family - is a natural fit with our Indigenous values. The concept of the whole community (numerous service agencies) coming together to support the individual needs is also in line with our Indigenous beliefs." Having spent the last year intensively reviewing and adapting the model for the local urban Indigenous context in Dryden, Ledger added, "We are thankful to the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) and WoodGreen Community Services for providing us the support, motivation and inspiration to pursue this initiative. With the support and collaboration of our key community partners, we are confident that we will be successful in making a real positive change for our community members."

Participating Friendship Centres include Dryden Native Friendship Centre, Timmins Native Friendship Centre, Niagara Regional Native Centre, Hamilton Regional Indian Centre, N'Amerind (London) Friendship Centre, and the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre.

All of the communities have also had significant engagement from diverse stakeholders, including local Indigenous organizations, municipalities, colleges, potential funders and community members. Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services, in particular, is in talks with WoodGreen, OFIFC and the Friendship Centres about developing housing for families in the Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound program. There is also a prospect of affordable home ownership for the participants following graduation from the program.

Dr. Marie Wilson, one of the Commissioners of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission said, “We must be honest about the real two solitudes in this country, that between Indigenous and non-Indigenous citizens, and commit to doing tangible things to close the divide in awareness, understanding and relationships.” Beyond Homeward Bound as a program model, WoodGreen's partnership in the Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound initiative is an example of how Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, organizations and service providers are coming together to close the divide and to promote the health and wellbeing of mother-led families today, and for future generations.