The Tawâw Housing First Partnership represents an opportunity to create a unique, culturally sensitive, supportive, environment based upon recovery-oriented wellness principles that will elevate residents and assist them in transitioning from lives of addiction, intergenerational trauma, impaired educational and employment outcomes, marginalization and hopelessness into a place of support, dignity, structure, community and cultural pride.
Tawâw, (a Cree word meaning "Come in, your welcome, there is room for you here") is an Indigenous Permanent Supportive Housing Program for the chronically houseless population. The program is Indigenous led with the primary focus to decolonize and open opportunities to language, land, culture and ceremonies of Indigenous identity in the recovery process.
It offers 29 individual units with the capacity to expand to 45-48 beds and is open to all. The program builds a sense of community and belonging for residents through the application of Indigenous world views on reciprocity, respect and relational/ natural law. The building encompasses various levels of care based on the harm reduction and trauma informed philosophy and is broken into 4 different wings divided by level of care, co-ed, youth, women and 2 short-term/ emergency family suites. Case management and strategies for each group differ but with common themes. The program is designed to serve those that have been unsuccessful in other housing settings and for those who often utilize space within hospitals and care facilities due to a lack of appropriate supports in community. The goal of the program is for residents to return to a life of autonomy and wellness of their own design, but we recognize that many, particularly the Elderly, may live out their days with us in dignity and respect.
Tawâw is modelled after three highly successful programs of Niginan Housing Ventures in Edmonton, with a continued relationship of support from Niginan to WBWS as the program rolls out. Alberta Health services is a strong supporter of the program, providing funding and embedded AHS employees to provide clinical services. This collaboration draws upon the expertise, experience and networks of both federal and provincial health system organizations to create a well curated housing community.