Giiwe and the Indigenous Supportive Housing (ISHP) program

Program Coordinators: Diane Giroux, Rachel Paterson, Alex Jamieson

Phone: 519-371-1147 ext 248, Cell: 226-568-5242



The Giiwe Project was launched by M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre in April 2018. Giiwe is an Indigenous-led partnership among social service agencies and other relevant organizations in Grey County.   Giiwe aims to reduce Indigenous homelessness by fostering more interconnected housing related supports that are equipped to respond to Indigenous-specific housing needs and preferences. This initiative is led by M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre. The name of this project, ‘Giiwe,’ is a word in Anishinaabemowin, the Ojibway language, that can be translated into “s/he goes home”(The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary, 2015).

What aspects of inter-agency collaboration are addressed at Giiwe Circles?

  • Discussing priorities for inter-agency collaboration on Indigenous homelessness and cultural safety
  • Identifying gaps experienced by Indigenous service users and how to fill these gaps
  • Supporting Indigenous housing seekers from the perspective of M’Wikwedong
  • Establishing collaborative case-management and wrap-around supports for Indigenous peoples
  • Creating a directory of social service agencies and Indigenous-specific supports
  • Implementing inter-agency agreement between interested organizations and M’Wikwedong
  • Identifying the achievements and challenges of Giiwe’s pilot phase

Diane Giroux – Giiwe Coordinator & interim Housing Outreach Worker
Cell: (519)374-5868



Funded through a three-year grant received through the Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services, the ISHP  Indigenous Housing Outreach workers will assist individuals and families in securing safe, affordable and appropriate housing to allow further growth and healing to take place.  The ISHP support and emergency resources will be available for individuals and families in crisis situations, transitioning out of hospital or living with the many challenges associated with homelessness within the community.

The Outreach Staff will co-design an individual plan with each participant as well as their critically important informal supports. The plans will be culturally sensitive and trauma-informed, assisting to identify challenges, highlight strengths and work together, towards important goals as determined by program participants.  The Indigenous Outreach workers will assist in:

  • obtaining housing,
  • moving,
  • transportation,
  • rent/utility supports and deposits, and
  • transitioning to other forms of housing including home-ownership.

As a partner agency in this project, Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre (SOAHAC) provides a wide range of wellness services to First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in Southwestern Ontario, including traditional healing, mental health and addictions services, and clinical services such as primary health care (nurse practitioners, physicians, registered nurse), diabetes education, nutrition, harm reduction services, and more.

Rachel Paterson – Indigenous Support Housing Program Worker
Office: (519) 371-1147 ext. 248
Cell: (226) 568-5242

Alex Jamieson  – Indigenous Housing Outreach Worker
Office: (519) 376-5508 ext. 2136

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