Young Mothers Transition House

Jun 2020 | Community Profiles

Over the last two years, more and more young moms and moms-to-be are experiencing homelessness and precarious housing in Nanaimo.

The Young Mothers Transition House at Tillicum Lelum Aborignal Friendship Centre serves young mothers, aged between 18-25, who are currently homeless or at risk of homelessness. As the only place on the Island offering this service, many women travel long distances to be here. Sadly, the waitlist is long.

This no drugs or alcohol facility houses three mothers and their children at a time. With an average stay of three months, the goal is for each family to transition into safe and stable housing. The Transition House also helps with family reintegration, education, health, employment and developing life-skills.

“The moms are grateful for all the support they receive while living here. They comment about how welcome they feel from the time they first arrive and throughout the program,” says Breeze Elliott, Coordinator of the Young Mothers Transition House.

Young Mothers Transition House - garden yard

Based on a holistic model, the support each woman receives at the Transition House adapts to their unique needs and goals. Every month, the moms, together with the program leaders, identify what they’ll be working on. Then programs are developed to help them achieve their goals, such as finding employment, enrolling in school, self-care, help with applications, budgeting, or cooking.

While living at the Transition House, the moms are encouraged to develop cultural connections through attendance of Tillicum groups and events. They regularly do smudging at the house. There is also a sweat lodge on the property that they are welcome to attend.

Program leaders always see a huge change in the young women as they complete the program: their confidence grows, they gain knowledge of different community resources that they can access, they make life-long friends and develop a support network.

“When they leave, they feel supported in their life’s journey. They know they’re not alone. They can continue to receive supports us through our outreach program,” says Elliot.

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