Ending the Cycle: Ometz provides a safety net for women

Ometz helps women regain financial autonomy.

Every year, hundreds of women In the Montreal Jewish community benefit from the support of Ometz, Federation CJA, and their partnering agencies.

Women and Poverty

While poverty and other economic disadvantages aren’t exclusive to women, there exist certain subgroups of women in the Montreal Jewish community who remain particularly vulnerable to its effects.

9,400

Number of women living in poverty in the Montreal Jewish community

Some of the most greatly-affected are single mothers, elderly and/or widowed women, immigrants, and women without a post-secondary education. With the help of Agence Ometz, their dedicated staff, and the multitude of programs and services they’ve developed either internally or through partnering organizations, these women and their families are given a chance to overcome economic hardships and move to social integration and financial autonomy.

Addressing the issue

While appropriate interventions and responses are determined on a case-to-case basis, Ometz is known for going above and beyond to help their clients. They provide access to a reliable network of safe houses and shelters for women in abusive relationships, help economically disadvantaged women learn skills in financial capacity-building, gain access to welfare and other government programs including low-cost housing options, and can even accompany a client to her appointment at the CLSC to ensure she receives proper care. They also have a dedicated employment counseling team and offer skill-based workshops to help clients be more marketable to potential employers.  In critical cases, Ometz can provide emergency assistance as they work with women to plan for financial independence.

Giving the next generation a fresh start

Beyond financial assistance, Ometz offers a wide array of social services designed to take proactive measures in ensuring that the future generation has every opportunity to succeed and break the family’s poverty cycle. “The hope is to address the underlying issues, while taking great care to provide supports to the children of these families so that they don’t inherit the burden themselves,” said Susan Kling, a Manager and Family Mediator at Ometz.

The latter being critical, with children of single-parent, female households being one of the most heavily-affected demographics. To circumvent this, Ometz works with clients on a plan that provides them access to a wide spectrum of responses that include tutoring, mentorship, professional counseling, and improved access to Jewish camps.

Further, Ometz helps these families maintain a quality of Jewish life – an area where basic government services fall short. Due in large part to these measures, many women and their children have gained self sufficiency and are on their way to ending the poverty cycle – A testament to our ability as a greater community to overcome adversity, as well as a story of triumph which we hope will begin a cycle of its own.

For more information and resources on its social services, please visit the Ometz website.

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