What is Behind Oyate Tipi?

The basic concept for Oyate Tipi is simple. It grew from the recognition that there are hundreds of women and children each year, who leave violent situations and move out on their own. Many find support through sheltered and supported housing within places such as Willow Place, the Native Women's Transition Centre and Ikwe. Shelter within such arrangements is temporary, with the women and their children eventually having to move towards independent living.

For those without adequate financial resources, a primary barrier is encountered - How to obtain essential furniture and household goods with available financial resources? While minimal amounts can be available through savings from employment or social allowances, purchasing at retail rates is not an option. These women and their children face the daunting challenge of trying to re-build their homes without the resources to do so.

In addition, to providing direct shelter, support and opportunities to strengthen and grow, the partner organizations also attempt to supply women who leave their facilities with (at least) a bare minimal of adequate furnishings to re-establish their lives. Within these groups there is a supply of furnishings and goods that arise through donations. Most often, this can be very sporadic. Each organization has their own visibility, their line of contacts and supporters, and each receives opportunities to receive donations of furniture and household items. Each takes in what they can, and attempts to move the items out as quickly as possible. Storage space is often at a premium. Donations tend to be immediate reactions, with donors not willing to 'store until needed'. They want the furniture or goods picked up quickly.

Conversely, the movement of women and children in and out of temporary shelter is not linear, nor can it be predicted. The ability of organizations to match the needs of the women to available donations is consequently, also limited. As a result, the opportunity to receive donations can be lost, while at other times, women and children go without necessities.

Oyate Tipi came about as a concept in response to these issues. Simply stated, the furniture warehouse project will serve as a means of taking advantage of every donation available in the most optimal manner. Through a centralized facility, with a program coordinator, delivery vehicle and part time delivery personnel, donations can be picked up and either, delivered to recipients or stored at a common warehouse. Oyate Tipi represents an effective link between the demand for furniture and household goods by women and the supply of donated goods from Winnipeggers in general. The effort will establish a level of stability and take advantage of some economies of scale to facilitate an adequate supply and a means of ensuring that donations are not missed, and can be accommodated when they are made.

In this manner, a linkage is created between the need for furniture and household goods, and the supply through donations across Winnipeg.

The Results will Grow

Oyate Tipi's statement of mission reflects the duality of its actions:

"To support clients from participating referral agencies to make a new start by providing them with no cost furniture and household essentials"

"To facilitate the generosity of Winnipeg residents and organizations by providing pick-up services and a central facility for household donations."

It is expected that Oyate Tipi will become more than simply a warehouse. It will be seen as a support for clients to rebuild their homes, and an opportunity for community capacity building within the context of volunteer, employment and skill development options. Therefore, Oyate Tipi can be viewed in many ways, each creating results for different elements of the population of Winnipeg:

On the surface, Oyate Tipi can be defined as a community-based central depot for gently used furniture and household goods. Its primary purpose is to support clients who are rebuilding their lives and their homes - those making a new start after leaving abusive relationships, by providing them with no cost furniture and goods.

Oyate Tipi will hire locally, with inner city community residents participating in employment opportunities that are created. Through this, development will result through the creation of employment and entrepreneurial skills and capacity, particularly within the inner city Aboriginal community.

Volunteer opportunities will be fostered, to supply inner city residents with the means to gain experience and skills. Partnerships will result, between municipal, provincial and federal government, the volunteer and private sector to focus energy and resources, and to present a model for cooperation and synergy that address common concerns. Volunteering and donating furniture and household goods by the broader community will also be a cornerstone of Oyate Tipi, serving to provide opportunities to become involved in tangible ways that illustrate ways to care for one another.

Each result reaches a larger segment of Winnipeggers, and magnifying the impact that is created through Oyate Tipi.

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Last Updated 09 JUN 2016

Oyate Tipi Cumini Yape • 606 Selkirk Ave • Winnipeg, Manitoba • R2W 2N1