Montreal YWCA unveils 2023 plan to counter inequality, violence

Helen Antoniou, executive coach and author, and co-president of the Y Foundation's latest fundraising campaign.

The Montreal YWCA revealed its 2023 Plan for the Future last week, to counter inequality, exclusion and violence towards women and gender-diverse people, through upgraded programming.

The Y Foundation also launched the public phase of its $10 million fundraising campaign, under the co-presidency of Helen Antoniou and Laurent Ferreira, "to support the roll-out of the 2023 Plan for the Future and encouraging Montreal's business and philanthropic community to join the movement. National Bank has set the standard, confirming, effective immediately, that it has committed $1 million in support of the project."

"Today, our Plan for the Future, which we have named 'Rebuild,' is ready to take flight, and it will phased in by 2023," stated Louise Poirier, Chair of the board of directors of the YWCA Montreal. "This moment represents a beacon of hope and a period of preparation that requires, now more than ever, flexibility and relevance. The YWCA is taking a decisive step for Montreal's women, girls and gender-diverse persons, in order to provide them with a YWCA that meets their evolving needs, and to contribute towards marking Montreal a more inclusive, egalitarian and non-violent society."

"Now, more than ever, we have to upgrade our services, because many Montreal women and girls are experiencing situations of vulnerability that have worsened because of the pandemic," stated Isabelle Lajeunesse, Executive Director of the Women's Y Foundation. "We need to think of low-income, older, single-parent women, women who are caregivers, immigrants, black, racialized, indigenous or in a violent or itinerant situation."

According to statistics released by the YWCA, "one in three single mothers live below the poverty line; as of 2016, 81.4 percent of single-parent families are headed by the mother, the average age of girls recruited to become prostitutes is 14.7 years old, more than 80 percent of victims of sexual and domestic violence are women and one in five women reported that they were sexually assaulted before the age of 18; and 16.9 percent of women lost their jobs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic."

The YWCA 2023 Plan For the Future includes:

• "A transformed transitional residence where everything will be put in place to provide women, their children or caregivers the time they need get re-established. This residence will be able to house almost twice as many women (± 60 units), including family units, and will provide psychosocial support 24-7. Beside the residence, the YWCA will build more than 30 permanent units for low-income or middle-income women."

• "An updated 'Passport to employment': Everything needed for women wishing to return to work, change careers or improve their professional situation, regardless of their current employment status. Multi-platform employability services with longer service hours directed at more lucrative future job sectors and offering one-on-one, customized support."

• "An all-new '360 support hub' where women, girls and gender-diverse persons can meet resource personnel and benefit from drop-in, counselling and referral services for all key aspects of their life: work, health, sexuality, violence, relationships, legal help, etc.

For more information about the YWCA 2023 Plan for the Future, check

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