The YWCA Turning Points Program (TPP) provides much more than just accommodation for women. The goal of the program is to increase and strengthen the basic health and life skills of clients increasing the likelihood they will be able to work full or part-time, live independently and be connected to the community. Women enter the program through a referral and interview process. Many of the women who enter the program are experiencing mental health issues, abuse issues and addiction. The role of the Program Facilitator is pivotal in helping the client navigate obstacles and access resources in the community that will assist them in changing their lives.
The evaluation was designed to meet three objectives: to determine the impact on the women who entered the program, to uncover the factors that contributed to, or impeded, positive impacts on these women, and to establish whether participation in the program saved overall health costs for the health system.
The evidence from a review of the literature on transition housing suggests that these programs successfully provide women with the emotional and practical supports, as well as services needed, for them to recover and move into full citizenship and healthy participation in society. The literature review also reveals evidence through several large quantitative studies that transitional housing programs save lives as well as health care costs.
The research process involved interviewing women who had participated in the program and women currently in the program. Community partners were also interviewed. These community partners were identified as supports and referral agencies for the program.
The evaluation revealed clear evidence that community partners and participating women valued the program and the significant impact it has made on the lives of those who have participated in the program. The main factors for the positive impact on women’s lives were safety from the program location, the length of the program, the many topics and supports women receive while in the program and the help given by the Program Facilitator. From the women’s interview data and the literature review the evidence points to the fact that the TPP does help women build new lives and it is reasonable to predict that this saves health care dollars.