Freeman House is about supporting every Youth and Family across diversities of unique experience, culture, and 2SLGBT2Q+ identities to be included in a safe and sustainable community, and to be contributors to a diverse and thriving region. Freeman House and local Community Hub coordination of support and Services, are intended to help underserved Youth, Adults and Families access the Services they identify are needed to prevent problems and help them get on with their lives. Supports at Freeman House include
- Youth Outreach
- the Family Program
- Men’s Violence Intervention
- Community Hub Coordination of Services
- In addition, Freeman House is a member of the local Community Support Network intended to: coordinate and provide Sexual Assault counselling and support for all persons, increase visibility of services available in the community, and help with navigation
The Youth Outreach Program provides Youth 16+ with
- drop in
- crisis management
- programs and workshops
- referral support
- system support & navigation (e.g., housing, education, employment…)
- creative outreach meeting Youth where they are
The Family Program provides Families with
- individual counselling and Family work
- Family Conferencing
- Family programs and workshops
- reunification support
- kinship placement and foster family support
The Men’s Intervention Program provides
- individualized intervention addressing immediate risks within a coordinated community response
- preventive personal care plans informed by unique experience and the social determinants of health
- men’s group programs and workshops
- individual and peer support addressing men’s experience of violence, sexual violence, and trauma
The Community Hub supports a consistent, coordinated Continuum of practice that brings together service providers across program areas to
- respond to practice issues and systems challenges
- participate in weekly ongoing collaborative case management
- organize case conferencing together with Youth and Families
Achieving Violence Prevention together:
Our work with Youth, Families and the Community Hub provides a unique opportunity to address violence from a Prevention perspective:
- Together with Youth, we can support the development of healthy relationships skills, mentoring, and safe community building
- Together with Families and Adults we can address the prevention of family violence and violence against children in the home
- And together with Community Hub partners we can support community efforts to link Intervention with Prevention, Early Intervention, and Health Promotion
FSWNS Men’s Intervention Services in Lunenburg County and the Western Region
The Men’s Intervention Program housed at Freeman House in Lunenburg County addresses men’s use of violence within a coordinated community response. In addition, the Men’s Intervention Program is located within a collaborative Community Hub approach that also includes Youth Outreach, a Family Program, and coordination of local services. This Community Hub approach can connect underserved men and families with an additional range of risk reducing, safety enhancing supports as needed, spanning the Social Determinants of Health. These supports may include: food security, education, employment, housing support, community inclusion, and attention to areas of underservice that impact on men’s adult relationships, such as men’s historical experience of violence and sexual abuse. This effectively links Intervention with Early Intervention, Prevention and Health Promotion. The goal of the Men’s Intervention Program at Freeman House is to address risk within this coordinated and comprehensive community response, and, support men, families and our communities in moving forward safely and sustainably.
Men’s Intervention Services are also provided on an Outreach basis at sites including Liverpool, Caledonia, Shelburne, Yarmouth, Digby, Middleton, Kentville, and Windsor. We meet with a wide diversity of people in relationships with friends, partners, families and communities. You do not have to be referred by others. You can simply call us and book a time to meet, to see if we are a fit for you. Click here to go to our contact information. Please note these conversations are free.
And we support all people to access the supports they identify are needed in response to Sexual Violence and Trauma
We have learned a lot about the importance of practical, genuine collaboration in response to the rights violations and underservice many youth and adults face. We’ve also learned from our communities about widespread experiences of sexual abuse, violence, and trauma, across inequities of gender, ability, sexuality, diversity and culture. We’ve learned a lot about the invisibility of sexualized violence, especially in the lives of underserved populations. As one man said, “Everybody sees the man, but nobody sees the little boy who was being abused.”
The majority of people accessing our services have experienced violence and sexualized violence. But most do not want to be identified as a “Survivor” or be expected to participate in a traditional “Survivor” group. We provide supports responding to young and adult men’s experiences of sexual violence in the ways that fit for them and honour their knowledge and resilience. We have been providing these supports for over a decade, within a community that collaborated and pioneered this work locally from the 1990’s forward.
Because familiar approaches to helping often restrain citizens from receiving the kinds of supports they identify are needed, many people often tell us that they will “never call 911 again”. When we refuse to face these larger operations of social power including our own power to profile people – we contribute to more hurt within families, more risk for children and youth, and increase stigma around this very important work that could be done together.
Family Service of Western Nova Scotia, based in Freeman House in Bridgewater, on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, was created in 2014 by the Board of Alternatives Association in partnership with the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services.
It is an innovative product of the learning we’ve achieved together in the Province in the past two decades about the importance of Community Capacity Building linking Violence Intervention with Health Promotion, Prevention, and Early Intervention.
FSWNS and Freeman House is a non-profit community collaboration. We continually develop our practices out of shared, ongoing, community learning on the South Shore and across Nova Scotia. From the 1980’s forward, an extensive collective knowledge base has been developed, by citizens within our communities, about helpful ways to link health promotion, prevention, early intervention, and violence intervention services.
Freeman House is a prototype for supporting underserved Youth and Families in the community. By underserved we mean the many people who typically do not access existing community supports, due to reasons including: lack of community understanding, stigma, shame, exclusion, and past and present experiences of interpersonal and systems violence. Engaging with underserved Youth and Families through Freeman House and our Youth Outreach Services in Lunenburg County does not involve engagement “strategies”. Instead, it’s very practical work of listening, consulting with the people we are expected to serve, and responding together to their individual, interpersonal, and social realities.
Our funders include
- Nova Scotia Department of Community Services
- Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness
- United Way of Lunenburg County
- Nova Scotia Department of Justice