WINK (Women In Need ‘Klinik’)

  • The Need

    For homeless women in Toronto, the health challenges they face on the streets, from acute conditions to long-term mental health needs, lead to complex health issues. In Toronto’s most recent Street Needs Assessment (2018), it was found that 8,715 people were experiencing homelessness and 42% 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 homeless women.

    Sherbourne’s Women in Need ‘Klinik’ (WINK)

    WINK provides accessible, barrier-free services to women and trans women who are homeless, sex workers and those living in poverty. 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 and personal health supplies and more importantly to access an interdisciplinary healthcare team for direct one-to-one health support and group-based health promotion activities. The WINK team includes a physician, nurse, mental health counsellor, and client resource worker who support acute needs and longer term healthcare planning. On average, approximately 40-50 women attend WINK weekly and WINK sees over 1,000 client visits annually.

    The goal of WINK is to provide barrier free holistic health services to women and trans women who are homeless, sex workers or living in poverty.

    Impacts

    • Access to Health Care Support: Homeless and street-involved women and trans women access health care at WINK. 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 at www.sherbourne.on.ca/donate.

  • WINK staff serve food

    “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

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. The demand for WINK continues as up to 50 women participate every week to access low barrier healthcare support and be part of a larger community.