Over the years, Alberta Blue Cross® has continued to support our commitment to championing diversity, equity, and inclusion by increasing our community impact investments in organizations that support and address social justice issues.
While Alberta Blue Cross® has sponsored events held by YW Calgary in the past, we also saw a new opportunity to support their programming for vulnerable individuals. This led to a partnership to support YW Calgary’s Transitional Housing program for women experiencing housing insecurity, domestic violence, mental health struggles, addictions or other barriers.
The Transitional Housing program provides safe and affordable housing for women in crisis or transition, as well as individualized support including helping them recover from trauma, focus on healing, develop financial stability, and find secure, permanent housing. YW Calgary connects program participants to community resources to further support them in their growth journey, building independence and self-reliance. While in the Transitional Housing program, women have 24/7 access to client support, counselling and other life-skill-building resources offered by YW Calgary, such as employment and budgeting workshops and walking and meditation groups.
Transitional Housing also offers a gardening program and has successfully expanded its programming, offering more gardening plots, crafting groups, sanctuary walks and even a fitness program.
The gardening and fitness programs have been very helpful in building and improving social well-being among the residents, while also providing a physical activity option where previously there was not one. Alberta Blue Cross has provided equipment such as fitness bands to support the program as well. Physical and social activity is further supported through access to an on-site fitness centre as well as sanctuary walks, lasting from 10 to 60 minutes, located near the site.
“From January 2021 to December 2022, our transitional housing program supported 282 women in need of housing,” says Salwa Naluu, Transitional Housing manager. “Alberta Blue Cross®’s focus on client engagement wellness activities had a significant impact on the women’s mental health and overall wellbeing…”
A resident had this to say about their time at the centre:
“As a resident of the YWCA Women’s Centre Transition Housing Program, I was very happy to hear that we would be able to participate in planting, maintaining, and harvesting our own garden. Activities like this are so important in bringing some sense of normalcy and “home” to women who are often going through the worst time of their lives. The fresh air, exercise and fellowship that having a garden provides are invaluable. Before coming to the YWCA, I had a lovely home and was an avid gardener. Because of this garden program, I was able to enjoy beautiful, fresh vegetables once again. Nutrition plays a huge role in overall health and contributes to healing from trauma. Therefore, I sincerely hope that this garden program can continue so that this comfort can be given to other women as they transition through a difficult time in their lives.”
We are eager to see the further development of the program suite YWCA Calgary provides to its residents and pledge our continued support to the organization.