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Responding to Pregnancy, Infant Apprehension and Homelessness: Building Community Capacity for Adequate Housing and Support Through YWCA Hamilton

Existing Canadian-based research notes widespread lack of access to appropriate housing and community-based supports during pregnancy and postpartum for people who experience street-level homelessness. A myriad of compounding structural inequities positions this population at a significant risk of having their newborn apprehended at birth by child welfare organizations.

In collaboration with McMaster University, YWCA Hamilton is researching models of housing with wrap-around support for pregnant people experiencing homelessness. Key objectives for the project include:

  1. Building knowledge on the types of housing support models that currently exist to respond to complex homelessness, pregnancy, and newborn apprehension across Canada and internationally
  2. Gathering the perspectives of mothers and birthing people, who have experienced pregnancy and newborn apprehension, on the types of housing and support models that would be best suited to addressing their needs.

Adjunct Professor (Political Science) and YWCA Hamilton Senior Program Analyst, Violetta Nikolskaya, Faculty Member, Mary Vaccaro (School of Social Work), and Dr. Saara Greene (School of Social Work) are the lead researchers for this project, and holders of a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant. They are supported by graduate student research assistants, Samm Floren and Angelica Esposito.