Connecting the Circle: A Gender-Based Strategy to End Homelessness in Winnipeg

Connecting the Circle is a Coalition of government, community organizations, and women, trans, Two-Spirit, and gender non-conforming people with lived experience of homelessness working to prevent and end homelessness for diverse women, trans, Two-Spirit, and gender non-conforming people in Winnipeg by closing system gaps that create gendered paths into homelessness and/or barriers to exiting homelessness.

In September 2019, Connecting the Circle released its Gender-Based Strategy to End Homelessness.

This research is crucial because:

  • It identifies the gaps that diverse women, trans, Two-Spirit, and gender non-conforming people fall through that lead to homelessness.
  • It’s the first strategy of its kind in Manitoba and, we believe, in Canada
  • Women, trans, Two-Spirit, and gender non-conforming people are not adequately captured in statistics on homelessness, due to the typically hidden nature of their experiences of homelessness. Therefore they are often excluded from homelessness services and strategies.
  • At least a third of people experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg are women and 11 percent are 2SLGBTQ+.
  • Most women, trans, Two-Spirit, and gender non-conforming people experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg are Indigenous, have experienced higher rates of violence than homeless men, and are less likely than men to stay in a homeless shelter.
  • Not only does it apply a gender-lens to the issue, but it applies an intersectional gender-based analysis (IGBA) to ending homelessness in Winnipeg by incorporating the impacts of Indigeneity, gender, ability, sexuality, immigration and refugee status, and other factors.

Connecting the Circle included people with lived experience of homelessness as leaders from the very start. Their knowledge and personal experiences guide all decisions of the strategy, ensuring it is rooted in the priorities and strengths of diverse women, trans, Two-Spirit, and gender non-conforming people. The strategy’s research is further centred on community voices gathered in focus groups and consultations. We can provide you with interviews with some of these lived-experience voices.

This report is only the beginning of our efforts to end homelessness for all women, trans, Two-Spirit, and gender non-conforming people in Winnipeg. The next phase of our work will move toward implementation. We have established a flexible and responsive governance structure to oversee the implementation of the recommendations and embed a gender-based approach in Winnipeg’s collective efforts to end homelessness for all. Our implementation efforts will be focused on working with partners to create targets, timelines and indicators to measure progress.

It’s time for acceptance of all gender identities, a city-wide commitment to decolonized, trauma-informed services, and an investment in the programs and strategies that work. It’s time to work together to ensure all people can be safe and permanently housed in complete communities with unified families. It’s time to reach our goals so that homelessness is a thing of the past for future generations of women, trans, Two-Spirit, and gender non-conforming people.

For more information, please contact Lisa Spring at communityengagement@wcwrc.ca or 204-774-8975 ext. 209.

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