YWCA Saskatoon looks to expand shelter with Hope Lives Here Campaign – Saskatoon | Globalnews.ca

YWCA Saskatoon has announced a campaign to help fund an expansion of their crisis shelter and residence.

The Hope Lives Here Campaign aims to get $19 million for the project with much of the campaign already funded.

The expansion will have 71 additional beds, more than doubling the capacity at the shelter and will have an opening date slated for December 2024 with 25-per cent capacity.

Click to play video: 'YWCA Walk A Mile in Their Shoes brings awareness to domestic violence in Saskatchewan'

YWCA Walk A Mile in Their Shoes brings awareness to domestic violence in Saskatchewan

Cara Bahr is the CEO of YWCA Saskatoon and said they had to turn away 4,253 women, children and youth in 2022 due to the shelter being at full capacity.

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Saskatchewan has the highest rate of domestic violence among all Canadian provinces, and Bahr added that it takes an average of seven or eight times for a woman to leave their abuser.

“YWCA second-stage housing works: over 90 per cent of our clients remain housed after they leave. Our housing program provides survivors with wrap-around supports, giving them the time and
space needed to heal, break the cycle of abuse and trauma, and rebuild their lives,” Bahr said.

Over $12.7 million of the project is already funded, some of the funding including $6.7 million coming from the federal government, $1.95 million from the province, $670,000 from the city and $2 million coming from the Brownlee Family Foundation.

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon’s YWCA pool closes permanently, citing increased costs'

Saskatoon’s YWCA pool closes permanently, citing increased costs

“The Brownlee Family gift was critical to secure the full scope of the project, including the multi-bedroom units which will allow us to accommodate women with children, a first for our second-stage housing program,” Bahr said.

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“We are investing in the YWCA Saskatoon because we want to help change lives in the community,” said Ina Lou Brownlee. “We hope this gift 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 are turned away come to the YWCA, needing a place to sleep,” said Jo Custead, campaign co-chair. “They are also often fleeing abusive situations, looking for a hot meal, or needing support for mental health or addictions. The homelessness crisis in our community disproportionately affects women and children. This is the reality for so many 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. That was the highest rate of any province, and more than twice the national average of 1,190.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.

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