The Rapidian

Dégagé's Open Door Patron Advocate 'walks alongside women'

I walk alongside each woman, offering support and assistance with what they need. My goal is to help, but more importantly to empower each woman to achieve her goals.
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Hello, my name is Jennie and I am the Open Door Patron Advocate. My role is to walk alongside the women who are staying in the Open Door Women’s Center.

During the women’s stay at Dégagé, each woman is required to meet with me once a week. These weekly meetings are specific to each individual woman, but one of the main goals is always to find housing. The stage for each woman is different. Some women are starting at step one and others have been waiting for weeks or even months. We also focus on physical and mental health, employment, education, income sources – the list could go on and on.

I walk alongside each woman, offering support and assistance with what they need. My goal is to help, but more importantly to empower each woman to achieve her goals. For example, when making phone calls, we do it together. I am coaching them so in the future they know what to do and feel confident about it. I want to create independence and empowerment.

In the past year, I met with 343 different women, and each situation was different. Some women I met with only once and with others had the joy of celebrating their new apartment.

In 2016, 33 women obtained housing! Once a woman leaves the Open Door and moves into housing, it is our goal to continue to walk alongside them. I believe that because of this the women have a much higher success rate for keeping their housing and not returning to the streets.

Written by Jennie Compagner

Pictured: Jennie with Bonnie, who just moved into her own apartment. The smiles say it all!

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