|The 23-Bed Transitional Shelter for Older Women (TSFOW) serves women who are 55+ and/or women who are vulnerable due to complex physical, mental health, developmental and/or substance-use related issues. Fred Victor operates the program in partnership with LOFT Community Services. LOFT will provide specialized psychogeriatric care coordination/case management which will include planning to appropriate housing such as independent housing, supportive housing/assisted living or long-term care utilizing a client centered approach. LOFT will also provide PSW care to any client in need of seniors assisted living services such as support with activities of daily living and personal care. FV will manage the day-to-day operations of the shelter and facilitate social recreational programming for the residents. The program’s service approach is based on principles of harm reduction, recovery, active listening and welcoming and inclusive service delivery.
The St. Felix Centre at 25 Augusta Avenue was started by the Felician Sisters 75 years ago. This was a Polish area of the city when the nuns were invited by the parish to come from the USA to do what they could for others. This has continued to be the vision of St Felix: Do what you can within your resources. When money is tight, St. Felix adjusts, and they do what they can with the resources they have.Executive Director Paddy Bowen explained that every organization needs to find its “unique” way. What might be perceived as St. Felix’s weakness is actually its strength: informal, flexible, with a small staff who train and organize the large number of unpaid volunteers who do the actual hands-on work.
Paddy describes St. Felix as being at the “crossroads of gifts”: food, clothing, ideas and money come in and are given to others. Recently they received 300 sandwiches that were left over from an event!
Their model for TRANSITIONAL HOUSING is based on women’s reality. They wanted to create a “flow-through” concept. Transitional Housing usually targets particular sub-sets of the population: addicts, people with disabilities, refugees, abused women. St. Felix is considered “third-stage housing”, one step before independent living.
Most important is a woman’s readiness to change. Clients work toward a goal of living independently and the ability to embrace the house culture.
Some women are referred by external agencies, and others apply directly. Each must have a set of supports outside St. Felix. If a woman is not ready for St. Felix, she will be referred to a shelter or to the Assessment Referral Centre on Peter Street for immediate help.
St. Felix House, a transitional house for womenPaddy Bowen in St. Felix Centre’s kitchen
Page last updated, August 2016