‘An issue that is never really going to go away’

Ryan Jones
By Ryan Jones January 12, 2018 11:27

Adrienne Payne, the healthcare navigator at Windsor’s Downtown Mission. (Photo by Ryan Jones)

By Ryan Jones


More women in the city of Windsor have started to use local shelters, creating a demand for feminine hygiene products.


According to Statistics Canada, as of 2016 there are a total of 130 emergency shelters for both men and women across Canada, one of them being Windsor’s Downtown Mission. Not only does the mission offer food to those who are hungry, it also offers support groups, healthcare and a place to sleep.


Adrienne Payne has been working at the Downtown Mission for more than three years as the healthcare navigator and more recently, the advocate outreach worker. She said the outreach sector is new and she works with local schools to conduct anti-stigma campaigns as well as creating education awareness.


“The healthcare part is working with local organizations like Street Health, the Aids Committee, yoga teachers… anywhere the community members want to come in and we try and provide immediate assistance directly on the floor,” said Payne.


With healthcare comes hygiene products. Payne said there has been a recent increase of young women attending the shelter. In total, the sleeping sanctuary  holds 103 beds with four  dorms designated for men. Payne said before this year, the mission would see an average of eight women per night using the sanctuary, but the number has now grown to 20 women per night. She said some women are forced to use the overflow room because the women sanctuary only has 15 beds. According to Payne, not only is there a lack of sleeping quarters but also a lack of feminine hygiene products.


“I originally kind of just started thinking about it one day where women would ask me for a tampon and I didn’t have any. That’s how it started,” said Payne.


She said there are many times where she has to refer people to Street Health, not knowing if they have supplies either.


“It was kind of a reality check that we didn’t have that much here to be able to provide for them.”


This issue has sparked local feminine hygiene drives around the city. The University of Windsor social work students are collecting donations at their downtown campus on Ferry Street. All supplies will be given to the Downtown Mission.  


People should keep their eyes open for more of these feminine hygiene drives.

Ryan Jones
By Ryan Jones January 12, 2018 11:27

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