Many people are not able to make the transition from shelter to apartment living. They require support in order to maintain permanent housing. Transitional housing generally consists of housing with two years of services, while supportive housing offers services for an open-ended period of time. Such housing may be provided within one physical space (e.g., apartment units built in former warehouses), or it may be provided in scattered apartments in publicly or privately owned buildings, with services brought in to individuals or families. In many communities, transitional and supportive housing is much preferred over building more shelters, which are often viewed with fear and suspicion. Increasingly, it is also being recognized that transitional and supportive housing models offer far more economical options than emergency shelters or institutions such as psychiatric hospitals or detention centers.
The Native Women's Transition Centre (opened in 1981) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for example, provides long-term residential services for aboriginal women experiencing family violence, abuse, addiction, involvement with Child and Family Services, and inadequate housing (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 1999, pp. 45-55). This long-term residential facility is staffed 24 hours a day, and provides a safe home for native women and their children. Staff are all aboriginal women. There are ex-residents among the full- and part-time staff, and on the Board of Directors. The program respects traditional native practices with a healing circle as an integral part of its program and a healing room built to resemble a teepee. Generally the maximum length of stay is one year. Then residents may choose to move on to second-stage housing at Memengwaa Place ("Home of the Butterfly").
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