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Iskwewak Iskotew Nihkotawan – Women’s Fire Lodge
Since the very beginning, Esquao has been committed to building strong, safe, and healthy communities by providing a culturally safe space for Indigenous women from all walks of life.
With the goal of transitioning residents to permanent housing solutions, Esquao entered into a partnership with Homeward Trust to lease a 20-suite apartment building for short-term supportive housing.
Women’s Fire Lodge delivers a recovery oriented approach and allows women experiencing homelessness to move into independent and permanent housing as quickly as possible, with no preconditions. The maximum duration of stay for residents is set at 18 months.
Many of the women coming out of correctional systems that we provide housing to have not had a stable home ever due to the destruction of the family unit, intimate partner violence, or recidivism.
Indigenous women have unique experiences such as systemic discrimination, need to rebuild family structure, and poverty. Women’s Fire Lodge will help build skills, provide needed legal and system navigation, and support Indigenous women of all ages with safe, affordable housing.
Who does Women’s Fire Lodge serve?
Indigenous women leaving federal correctional services, young Indigenous women (independent or over 18 years of age), or senior Indigenous women experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness.
What are the criteria for admission into the Women’s Fire Lodge?
- Must be referred by a sector partner or via Coordinated Access
- Individuals at risk of experiencing homelessness
- Recent experience with the justice system
- Individual must be able to comply with program requirements and building rules (including the need to promote a safe, healthy environment)
What might exclude an applicant from Women’s Fire Lodge?
- Clinical complexity beyond scope of available service
- Family needs unsuitable for available residency space
- Correction conditions inconsistent with program model
What are the activities directly supporting Women’s Fire Lodge participants?
- Healthy meal preparation
- Healthy relationships workshops – with self, community, the universe
- Financial Literacy – being aware of predators, budgeting, saving
- System navigation – justice system, income support, mental/ health services, legal system, family reunification, market housing
- Addictions support (Firekeepers Circle)
- Access to Elders and Ceremonies
Being with Esquao has opened up a lot of doors for me and has had a positive impact on my life. All of the staff are super friendly, helpful, and I can count on them to be there. I feel safe and secure here and I have people to advocate for me, and that makes my life a lot easier.
In Partnership with