WINK (Women in Need ‘Klinik’)
“When you’re homeless, its good just to have a safe place to go”
- Marcia, 55 year old, WINK client
For women in Toronto who are experiencing homelessness, the health challenges they face on the streets, from acute conditions to long-term mental health needs, lead to complex health issues. The City of Toronto’s Street Needs Assessment (2021) found that 7,347 people in the city are experiencing homelessness and 34 per cent were women. The health impacts of homelessness are severe—chronic conditions are exacerbated by poverty, mental health and addictions issues are prevalent, and the conditions of living on the streets impact health while impeding access to care. There are also very few services that specifically focus on support for women experiencing homelessness.
“The services that are offered here are very important because it keeps us involved in community and without that, we would be lost – quite literally roaming the streets. This is a very important program and funders need to know that. Funders keep giving!”
- Amara, 48 years old, WINK client
Sherbourne’s Women in need ‘KLINIK’ (WINK)
WINK provides accessible, barrier-free services to women women who are homeless, underhoused, sex workers, use drugs, and/or those experience poverty. WINK is trans-inclusive. Taking place every Wednesday morning, WINK offers a unique combination of health care, one-to-one support, goal planning and community building.
Women come to WINK for a nutritious breakfast, personal health, harm reduction supplies, and more importantly, to access an interdisciplinary health care team for direct one-to-one health support, and group-based health promotion activities. WINK participants also engage in artistic and self-care programming.
The WINK team includes a physician, nurse, and front line resource workers who support acute needs, social-emotional support, crisis intervention and longer term health care planning. On average, upwards of 50 women attend WINK weekly. WINK sees over 1,000 client visits annually.
- Access to health care support: by accessing the interdisciplinary WINK health care team, women can address urgent health needs, on-the-spot crisis counselling, and longer term health planning. Women are also connected to services at partner agencies to improve wellness.
- Inspired healthy living: At WINK, women are empowered with health knowledge and information to improve their overall wellness. Through health education presentations and workshops on topics ranging from heart health and blood pressure to diabetes management, women learn how to improve their overall health.
- Reduced isolation: By participating in WINK and sharing meals together, women build relationships with other members, increasing confidence and resilience. As homelessness and poverty can be isolating experiences, coming to WINK helps to grow a sense of belonging.
Your support to WINK matters. Through generous donations and community support, we can offer kind and caring health services to women in need to help them on their path to wellness.
We encourage you to donate now. Click here to donate.
Did you know…
WINK opened in May 2010 with 3 women in attendance? Originally, WINK was created as a drop-in for sex-workers. In the recent past, we have seen a shift as homeless and under-housed women, as well as trans and Indigenous women, have been accessing the program.