Photos: James Bombales
Housed in a 1960s era, mid-century modern building in downtown Hamilton, the YWCA’s Transitional Living Program provides safe and affordable temporary housing for women at risk and struggling with poverty, homelessness and violence.
Last week, the Branthaven Homes team joined the staff at the Hamilton YWCA along with women in the Transitional Living Program for an afternoon of christmas crafts and decorating. To help celebrate the holidays, Branthaven brought in supplies and decorations including two Christmas trees, for the common areas of the building’s two transitional living floors.
“All of the staff that works within Branthaven have been so good to the YWCA and we feel blessed that they’ve been continuing to support us and spread the word about the need of women’s services,” said Denise Christopherson, CEO of YWCA Hamilton. “Today they came to celebrate the holidays with the women and brought all these new decorations, crafts and had a mini-celebration leading up to the holidays.”
Earlier this year, Branthaven embarked on an ambitious rejuvenation project that saw the 65 outdated rooms of the Transitional Living Program renovated with new floors, cabinets, beddings and light fixtures. Along with fresh pops of paint colour, the renovations provided the women with a beautiful, uplifting space to heal and prepare to move into independent living.
“The building is 50 years old and really nothing had been done to the rooms since it was built so we came in with our associates and trade partners and renovated the whole thing” said Steve Stipsits, President of Branthaven Homes. “But what I found through the whole process was how amazing the ladies are in their perseverance and strength to get through tough times and better their lives.”
The investment also helped raise awareness on growing issues of violence against women, mental health and addictions, and homelessness which are often underfunded.
“On any one night in Hamilton over 300 women are turned away from shelters and transitional living programs,” said Christopherson. “There isn’t a women’s service including the YWCA that isn’t underfunded so we’re very thankful that we have someone like Steve in the community standing up and saying it’s important to invest in women.”
For more information on the Branthaven YWCA Rejuvination Project, visit www.branthaven.com/ywca-rejuvenation/ywca.