In Memory of Sheryl Brady Parfitt

Sheryl’s House – Ontario’s Housing First Foyer for young women & young mothers.

Sheryl’s House is closely modelled after Haven’s Way, a unique and amazingly succesful program provided by the Boys and Girls Club of Calgary. Haven’s Way is the first Housing First Foyer in Canada and Sheryl’s House will be the first of it’s kind in Ontario.

Our goal is to have this be the youth’s last experience with homelessness. Our specific goal is to provide young women & their kids with a safe supportive home environment where they can begin to heal, increase their level of education and develop the skills and supports that will transition them into adult self-sufficiency.

Sheryl’s House offers a home for young females (14-24) who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and committed to completing their education. This risk has presented itself in many different ways including sexual, mental and physical abuse, sexual exploitation, neglect, mental health, drug addiction and involvement with street life. We offer these girls a safe home environment, surrounded by positive adult role models that support them to thrive in their daily lives.

We believe it’s in a supportive home environment that youth can relax and begin to explore their identity and set goals for themselves. Sheryl’s House provides each girl the opportunity to spend quality one-to-one time with their live in supports that we call house parents allowing them to build trusting and helping relationships. It’s through these quality relationships that the youth can begin to set goals for themselves and identify the resources and supports needed to achieve them.

Program Design

Sheryl’s House is an average home in a residential neighborhood close to a schools &transoprtation. The program provides a home to young women some with children who were homeless or at risk of being homelessness.

Sheryl’s House offers three young women a place to live in supportive family environment where they can focus on completing their education while having their social and emotional needs met. The young women require supports to help with emotional healing and the transition to adult self-sufficiency. The House Parents help support the youth by attending professional appointments, keeping them engaged in recreational activities and school. The House Parent with support from the Program Coordinator work with each youth individually to develop individual goals and work on the life skills they need for independence.

This model of supportive housing is based upon the stages of change framework, trauma-informed care, relationship-based perspective, strength-based and a client-centered philosophy.

Supportive Housing Model

Relationship-based Perspective: Our work always begins with the building of a positive relationship. Our research shows that a respectful, supportive and empowering relationship is the conduit for change.

Stages of Change: Change is a complex process. Individuals may be at different stages of change in different areas of their lives. Ensuring youth voice and choice are respected, we tailor our approach and interventions, and we support the youth to move towards and through change.

Strength-based Perspective: This approach works with youth to identify and acknowledge their individual strengths. Youth who are experiencing challenges are often mired in crisis and deficit thinking. A strength-based approach works to shift perception from "what's wrong" to "what's working", and empowers the youth to build on their strengths.

Trauma-Informed Perspective: Most if not all homeless youth have experienced some type of trauma. A trauma-informed approach acknowledges and is responsive to the consequences of trauma on attachment, self-regulation and competency and seeks to build resiliency in these areas.

Client-centered Philosophy: Primary to program philosophy ‘Choice’ and ‘Voice’ in one’s life is essential. When youth are given choice it empowers them and provides conditions for happiness that better addresses their needs. Choice provides youth with the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. We believe that when ideas are self-generated rather than a response to what is expected by a caregiver in their life you will become more self-sufficient and able to help themselves.

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