By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
For an organization that is constantly changing and adapting to women’s needs in Durham Region, the YWCA is celebrating one of its lasting successes: the supportive housing at 55 McGrigor St. has been housing woman for a quarter century.
In a celebration on Aug. 25, the organization honoured residents who have called the building home since it opened 25 years ago.
According to Susanne Groen, co-executive and finance director for YWCA Durham, the building has become a home for many people over the last 25 years, when it was first noted Oshawa needed a place to support women who were deemed “hard to house.”
“Each of the women have certain struggles, to some degree not that much different than the struggles that many people deal with in society,” Groen says. “Addiction, history of abuse, developmental delay, physical limitation and many of them require or fully benefit from additional supports in order to maintain their independence.”
Those supports come in the form of education classes, life skills lessons for cooking or budgeting and many others. The building also allows residents access to organized group meetings and councillor sessions, along with the financial assistance of rent geared to income.
“It inspires them, it enhances them, it teaches them to grow,” Groen says.
The 40-unit building, which houses 45 women and 28 children, is labeled by the YWCA as the only supportive housing for women in Durham Region.
“In a nutshell, we say the YWCA as a whole, and that building as well, is changing and saving lives because these people would not have anywhere to go. They now have a family,” Groen says.