Hope through Good Housing



Jocelyn, via Flickr

What is the best way to support parents? Katy Blake and Joshua Leo look at an organization supporting and encouraging families through good places to live.

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Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Katy Blake.

Voice 2 

And I’m Joshua Leo. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

A group of children play outside. They climb up a large plastic structure. They swing up and back on seats attached to ropes. This playground is in the middle of a group of houses. All the walking paths in this housing area lead to the playground. And all of the doors and windows open towards the playground. This way, parents can easily watch their children playing. This housing area was designed to be safe for families. But it is much more than that. Today’s Spotlight is on the Entre Nous Femmes housing society in Vancouver, Canada. We look at how they provide a new future through housing.

Voice 2 

In 1991, one out of every five families in Vancouver was a single parent household. These families do not have two adults working and caring for the children. Only one adult is responsible for the whole family. Often, this adult is a mother. Some of these single mothers have never been married. Some are widows because their husbands have died. And others are divorced from former husbands.

Voice 1 

Many single parents have struggles. Single parents often work at jobs that do not pay much money. And while she is working, a single parent has to find good care for her children. Single parents are also more likely to have trouble finding good housing. They spend a lot of their money on housing. So they often have to live in houses that do not cost much money. And these houses are often not clean or safe.

Voice 2 

But in Vancouver there is a group helping single parents. The group is called ENF. ENF stands for Entre Nous Femmes. This name is French. In English it means “Among us Women.” The group is based on the idea of women helping other women. April English is one of the people who started ENF. She explains in a video what the name means:

Voice 3 

“It was coming from a point of belief in ourselves. So what we were doing was saying we women have what it needs. We women know what can happen. We have the skills to create it. And so that is how we came up with “Among us Women.”

Voice 1 

When ENF began, their main goal was to help single parents. But they were not sure how to do this. So they talked to many people. They found out that having a safe place to live was the most important thing for single mothers. Leslie Stern was another woman who began ENF. She explains what they did next:

Voice 4 

“Housing was the key issue. We joined a group in the government. Together we looked to see if it was possible to create this housing. We did the research and we put together a good plan. And we got the first round of money needed to develop the plan even more.”

Voice 2 

With money from the government and other organizations, ENF began in 1985. They opened a building where many families could live. It was the first of eight housing complexes. These complexes are safe and clean for families.

Voice 1 

The head of one of these families is Budiseya Uwamana. She is from Rwanda. She and her family lived in refugee camps in Ethiopia. But then her husband became sick and died. When Uwamana came to Canada she had very little money. But she found a place to live at ENF. She describes where she lives on ENF’s video:

Voice 5 

“The house is big! The children have room to play and they each have their room. It is very nice.”

Voice 2 

ENF does not charge very much money. They provide housing for women like Uwamama so she can take care of her children. Now Uwamama is learning English. Then she can look for work.

Voice 1 

The larger purpose of ENF is to help people deal with their own problems. So, ENF also provides job training. This is very important for single parents. It gives them a way to improve their lives.

Voice 2 

ENF manages the buildings.  It keeps them in good working order. But the tenants who live there are also important. They are very involved with each other. This gives them more than just a place to live. Debi O’Connell lived in ENF housing in the 1980s. She says the most important thing she gained from ENF housing was a sense of community. She wrote in the ENF newsletter:

Voice 6 

“This sense of community was very welcomed. I was a single parent with limited money. But I had support from other tenants as well as the organizers and workers of ENF. There were childcare exchanges and work parties at our building. Tenants cared about their building because it was their home. They had pride in where they lived. The Board listened to building concerns and tenant issues. We would work towards solutions.”

Voice 1 

Dianne Prysizney is the single mother of three children. They had been living in a small, dirty apartment. But Dianne and her children found a new place to live with ENF. It was clean and safe. But there was an even greater result of living in the ENF house. She thought about herself in a new, better way. Dianne says,

Voice 7 

“It was a huge boost in terms of self esteem. When you cannot provide a safe environment for your family then nothing else matters. I felt like I was being a better mother. I felt better about myself. Financially, I was much better able to provide a healthier environment for them.”

Voice 2 

And soon, Dianne was able to go back to school. Today she is a registered nurse working at a local hospital. Without ENF, she could not have paid for her nursing education. She says,

Voice 7 

“I feel like I am finally living my life right now. It feels good. It feels like I am going where I am supposed to be now.”

Voice 1 

After five years of living in ENF housing, Dianne bought her own house. She says ENF brought her out of her situation and gave her hope. Since the organization began, ENF has housed over 1,000 lower income families. And they continue to provide safe housing so people can have hope for the future.

Voice 2 

The writer of this program was Rena Dam. The producer was Nick Mangeolles. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Hope through Good Housing’.

Voice 1 

You can also leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also find us on Facebook - just search for spotlightradio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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Question:

What is the best way to support parents who need help?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
paulo86nirisco
said on August 26, 2013

I think this is a beautful social job

Avatar Spotlight
Dela
said on August 27, 2013

The single women with their children often have to live in the bad conditions, without job and money. They need to find a clean, safe place to live in. Living in ENF housing is a great starting point and hope to future for them. The establishment of the group ‘‘Among us Women’’ has been an excellent idea!
Thanks for the article!

Avatar Spotlight
vivianhuang
said on August 29, 2013

ENF gives great help to the single parents.They provide housing which I think it is the basic living conditions. The most important thing it is they give hope to them for planing their future.With hope,single parents will do better as the time goes by.Thanks for ENF.
If there were an organization like ENF in my city,that would be so good for the single parents.Hahahahaha…

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Gina Mejía
said on August 29, 2013

I think that The larger purpose of ENF is to help to many people, their main goal was to help single parents with their children. So they got a new home. Also ENF provides job training, it gives them a way to improve their live and people can have great hopes for the future.  it is a great organization. This organization is an example for others in the world.

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Fern@ndo
said on August 30, 2013

There are many good things out there.
Congratulations to the pioneers of ENF.

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georgino
said on August 31, 2013

ENF, great idea for these mothers alone   with children. We have a hope to drive a children for the good way.
Most of the children abandoned for their families are exposed to differents bad habit.

Excellent theme.
regards

 

Avatar Spotlight
ngocngoc
said on November 23, 2014

ENF is a good group.I think it’s a great idea for single parents. where the single morthers can take care their children and a safe place

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tukiet
said on November 26, 2014

This is good idea. It need to be developed at many countries. Especially, the developing countries must do it. It brings new life for woman, children who need the best condition.

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Mss Flamboyant
said on November 29, 2014

It is a good idea. Children are affected by environment so much so if they can have safe and sociable place to live, it will be best gift for them.

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nguyenthuy
said on December 08, 2014

its a good thing to do for single parents. I hope my country will set up a similar organization for single parents . i hope all of single parents will give the better thing in their life and brought up their children better . Regards.

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on April 20, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
To: spotlight
Subject: answer to the question above
Date: Wednsday 20, April 2016
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Katy Blake, Rena Dam, Joshua Leo, and Nick Mangeolles:

I am very grateful for more one importante issue that you have developed for us readers and learners of English.  The best way to support parents who need help is this way that was showed above. This organization is doing na excellent work for single parents who do not have place to live . It is a great idea to help them. Unfortunately, here in Brazil does not have a place like this. Here in Brazil there are many day nurseries (CRECHES). It is a place where children are looked after by other people while their parents go to work. On the afternoon, their parents take them back and go home. These places are totaly free because this is a service of the government.

Yours regards,
Severino Ramos

 

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on November 19, 2019

From .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
To spotlight program
Subject to answer to the question below
Location São Paulo city São Paulo Brazil
Tuesday 19, November 2019

Dear Rena Dam, Nick Mangeolles, Katy Blaky, and Joshua Leo

I thank you for bringing us this important article, again.
Question 1 - What is the best way to support parents who need help?
Answer 1 - The best way to support parentes who need help is na action like that you have showed us in the article. It is a wonderful place and solution to help them.
My commets; Here in Brazil there is not a place like this but there are a lot of nurseries / kindergatens for children to stay during their parents’ work periods.
So the parents leave their children there in the morning at 07:00 a.m and pick them up around 06:00 p.m. And the service is totally free because it is a Government’s service.
God bless you
Severino Ramos
Brazil

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Honneur
said on November 22, 2019

I am very glad to read this text and listen to this program. It is a great lesson that simple ideas can solve complex problems and improve our belief in humanity. Single parent families exist in every city in the world and have the same problems described in the program. The solution found in Canada is a model for other organizations around the world.

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Dela
said on November 23, 2019

I agree fully with Honneur’s comment. ENF excellent idea concerning care of single mothers and their children should stimulate authorities in other countries to strive for so that both single women and their children were provided the best adequate support and care at all events!

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Honneur
said on November 23, 2019

I will make this speech reach the Brazilian government and I hope he thinks about the possibility of its adoption here ..