About Us

A collaborative of committed organizations working together across agencies and systems.

About us - SLWAR staff

About Us

A collaborative of committed organizations working together across agencies and systems.

Who We Are

We’re a collaborative of 26 organizations, united to support women engaged in survival sex work and experiencing chronic homelessness in London, Ontario to secure permanent housing with supports and work towards achieving their goals.

What We Do

We provide rapid response, housing finding services, housing allowances, intensive in-home support, and coordinated referrals and intentional connections. We focus promoting choice and safety in sex work, health and well-being, and community integration and belonging.

How Our Journey Started

2014

An extensive community consultation was completed to understand the experiences and needs of women engaged in street involved sex work, identify gaps in available supports, and inform the development of a collaborative approach to improve housing, health, and well-being outcomes.

2015

London’s Community Plan Regarding Street Level Women at Risk (the Community Plan) was developed to address the multiple, complex, and co-occurring challenges, including addiction, difficulty finding stable housing, not having children in their care, feeling unsafe on the street, and a lack of supports, being experienced by women who were street involved and engaged in survival sex work in London, Ontario.

2016

Street Level Women at Risk (SLWAR) was formed and began operations in 2016. The Community Plan served as the foundation for SLWAR and continues to guide our work.

The Principles That Guide Us

The Community Plan identified guiding principles developed based on consultation with individuals with lived and living experiences. These guiding principles are applied throughout all areas of our work.

About us

Our Principles

  1. Safety – Factors, people, systems, and other interactions to assist each woman to be out of danger and feel secure are considered and addressed.
  2. Housing First – From the well-being of her home, each woman is provided with a variety of supports to meet her needs.
  3. Active Engagement – Understanding the gravity of illness and death of women, and the impact of losing their children, we work from a place of urgency and assertiveness to support each woman in reaching her goals.
  4. As Long as It Takes – We work towards continuous progress, focusing on long-term safety, health, and well-being.
  5. Housing With Support – We actively work towards each woman achieving housing stability.
  6. Women and Family Centred – The unique strengths and needs of each woman and her family will be respected, and solutions will be customized to her experience and situation in her community of choice.
  7. Relational Based – Strong relationships and trust ground our interactions with each woman.
  8. Strength Based – We draw upon the personal resilience, experiences, resources, motivation, and hope of each woman as we work towards viable, long-lasting solutions.
  9. Trauma Informed – A deep understanding of the impact of trauma and violence in the lives of women and their families informs our work as we realize that the effect of trauma is pervasive and broad and touches many life domains.
  10. Respect – Each woman and her family are always treated with dignity.
  11. Organizational Practices – We adapt our practices to respond effectively to address the housing and health outcomes of each woman.
  12. Joint Agreements – We create concrete memorandums of understanding with participating agencies with clear roles and responsibilities so that they function as an effective system.
  13. Women’s Experience Leads the Way – Women with lived and living experiences are an active part of the process at every step of the way.
  14. Community Education, Readiness, and Support – We work towards involving Londoners in creating safe and accepting communities.
  15. Harm Reduction – Practices encompass a continuum of interventions, including prevention, education, and minimizing risk of harm.
  16. Fiscally Responsible – Resources are used in effective, accountable ways.
  17. Sustainable Outcome Focused – Results are measured, reported, and form the basis of change based on the guiding principles.
  18. Developmental Evaluation – Learnings are captured and inform the continuous improvement of the Model.

Our Beliefs

  1. Sex Workers Have Rights – We support a human rights approach to sex work. We support participants’ rights to self-determination, safety, and dignity within their lives and sex work.
  2. Sex Work Occurs on a Spectrum – We support women who have limited choice in their sex work to move toward having agency and autonomy to engage in sex work of their own free will.
  3. Participants Are Experts in Their Own Lives – We listen to participants as they define their own lived and living experiences and prioritize the voices of sex workers when informing our services.
  4. We Are Witnesses to a Participant’s Journey, Not Rescuers – We acknowledge participants allow us to be part of their journey and our role is not to lead, but to provide support.
  5. Housing Is a Human Right – We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to adequate housing in which they can feel safe and secure.
  6. Strong Relationships Are the Foundation of Success – We strive to build strong, trusting, and supportive relationships by continuing to show up consistently and be present.
Support worker and program participant hugging