The YWCA Saskatoon has announced a campaign to help fund the expansion of its shelter and residence.
The Hope Lives Here campaign is aiming to secure $19 million for the project, with much of the campaign already funded.
The expansion will include an additional 71 beds, more than double the shelter’s capacity, and is scheduled to open in December 2024 with 25 percent capacity.
Cara Bahr is the CEO of YWCA Saskatoon and said she had to turn away 4,253 women, children and youth in 2022 due to the shelter being at capacity.
Saskatchewan has the highest rate of domestic violence of any Canadian province, and Bahr added that it takes an average of seven or eight times for a woman to leave her abuser.
“The YWCA’s second-stage housing works: over 90 percent of our clients stay housed after they leave. Our housing program provides survivors with comprehensive support, giving them the time and
space to heal, break the cycle of abuse and trauma and rebuild their lives,” Bahr said.
More than $12.7 million for the project has already been funded, including $6.7 million from the federal government, $1.95 million from the province, $670,000 from the city and $2 million from the city. Brownlee Family Foundation.
“The Brownlee family’s donation was essential to securing the entire project, including the multi-bedroom units that will allow us to house women with children, a first for our second-stage housing program,” said Bahr.
“We invest in YWCA Saskatoon because we want to help change lives in the community,” said Ina Lou Brownlee. “We hope this donation will inspire others to help more women and children. »
Donations are being accepted through the YWCA Saskatoon website, with Bahr saying she believes this project will have a significant impact on the community.
“These women and their families who have been turned away come to the YWCA because they need a place to sleep,” said Jo Custead, campaign co-chair. “They are also often fleeing violent situations, looking for a hot meal, or needing mental health or addictions support. The homelessness crisis in our community disproportionately affects women and children. This is the reality for many people in our city – and the number of people in need of support is only growing.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2021, the rate of police-reported violence against women and girls in Saskatchewan was 2,326 incidents per 100,000 population. This is the highest rate of any province, and more than double the national average of 1,190.
If you or someone you know is being abused or involved in a violent situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Center for Victims of Crime to help. They can also be reached toll free at 1-877-232-2610.
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