April 21st, 2024

Province funding additional spaces in women’s shelters

By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on March 20, 2024.

The Alberta government is providing an additional $10 million over four years to increase bed spaces in women’s shelters.

The province on Tuesday announced $5 million will be distributed in 2023-24 to women’s shelters throughout 17 different communities across the province to provide additional spaces for women fleeing violence

If the provincial budget is passed, the government will increase annual funding to women’s shelters by $5 million over the next three years.

“Every Albertan deserves to live a life free of fear and free of violence. Sadly, we know that’s not the reality for many non-profits. And as I’m sure most referrals speak to women and children are especially impacted by domestic violence and abuse,”said minister of children and family services Searle Turton said Tuesday in an online media event.

“Every year thousands of women turn to women’s shelters for help, whether that’s safe and supportive environment, or supports that can help them overcome some of the darkest challenges that they’ll face in a lifetime,” said Turton.

Turton noted his excitement that the government is following up on its promise made in the provincial election to provide women’s shelters with an additional $10 million over the space of four years.

“It’s so important that we make sure survivors have a safe place to turn and access to resources where and when they need them. And that’s why Alberta’s government is proud to support women’s shelters and the valuable work they do to keep vulnerable Albertans safe,” he said.

He said the $5 million investment will fund 104 beds within 17 communities in Alberta. He listed a few of the communities being Camrose, Fort McMurray, Rocky Mountain House, St. Paul, Grand Prairie, Calgary, and Edmonton.

“In Whitecourt where local demand is high, we’re doubling the number of beds. We’re stepping up the support to ramp up the YWCA through more than half a million dollars of new funding.

“This will help YWCA make sure locals area residents and visitors have a safe place to turn for emergency help when needed. We’re also supporting innovation within the sector to help serve survivors fleeing violence in rural Alberta,” said Turton.

Funding will also go towards enhancing supports within rural shelters including $350,000 for Rowan House Society’s new, first-of-its-kind program in High River, which empowers women to have agency over their choices while experiencing domestic violence.

Tanya Fir, Minister of Arts, Culture and Status of Women voiced the initiatives being taken to strategize against gender base violence.

“Alberta government’s Ministry of Arts, Culture and Status of Women is developing a 10-year strategy to end gender-based violence, which includes family support survivors. This strategy is important to help us identify and fill in gaps in services and coordinate our efforts.

“Equally important is that we don’t wait until a perfect plan. Take action where action and action is needed to support women across the province and particularly rural communities with additional capacity, shelter, and program,” said Fir.

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