MELFORT, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwired - April 11, 2014) - The Government of Canada and the Province of Saskatchewan, along with community partners, marked the start of construction of a new emergency shelter for women and children who are victims of family violence. The project will accommodate up to 20 individuals and include support services.
Randy Hoback, Member of Parliament for Prince Albert, on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), along with the Honourable Gordon Wyant, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, and His Worship Rick Lang, Mayor of the City of Melfort, made the announcement today.
"Our Government recognizes the urgent need to provide victims of family violence a safe place during crisis situation," said MP Hoback. "By investing in the North East Domestic Violence Shelter we are also following through on our commitment to offer safe and affordable housing for all Canadians."
"This is the first new transition house since 1989," said Justice Minister and Attorney General, Gordon Wyant. "The Government of Saskatchewan is proudly providing funding to North East Outreach for services assisting individuals and families experiencing interpersonal violence and abuse."
"The City of Melfort would like to congratulate Northeast Outreach and Support Services on the beginning of construction of North East Domestic Violence Shelter," said City of Melfort Mayor Rick Lang. "Through the hard work of the individuals involved, this shelter has finally become a reality. I would also like to commend and thank both the Government of Saskatchewan and the Government of Canada for their involvement in this project. The foresight shown by these levels of government to recognize the need for this type of facility for Northeastern Saskatchewan shows a commitment to work towards a solution to a problem that affects the most vulnerable in our society. For those involved in a domestic violence situation, there will now be an alternative. The spirit of co-operation shown by our two senior levels of government in conjunction with the City of Melfort is certainly commendable and we sincerely thank them for their involvement."
"It is with great pleasure that the Board and Staff of North East Outreach and Support Services continues on our journey to assist women and children in leading violence free lives," said Louise Schweitzer, Executive Director of North East Outreach and Support Services. "It takes a community to raise a child. Our community has grown to include the federal, provincial and municipal governments with their financial contributions to our projects. The Domestic Violence shelter is part of the ongoing programming we have offered to the North East portion of the province for the past 30 years."
The federal and provincial governments, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, are jointly contributing $1.5 million under the Canada-Saskatchewan Investment in Affordable Housing 2011-2014 Agreement. In addition, the City Melfort contributed $148,000 and the North East Outreach and Support Services Inc. (NEOSS) contributed approximately $111,000. The province, through the Ministry of Justice, will provide annual operating funding upon completion of the project.
The 7,350 square foot (683 square meters) shelter, to be owned by NEOSS, will provide 16 beds in seven bedrooms and, in the event of an emergency, the shelter will also be able to accommodate four additional individuals, for a total of 20. Common dining, kitchen and play areas will provide additional living space. Office spaces in the building will accommodate two personal violence counsellors, a child care counsellor, a shelter manager as well as administrative and outreach services. The project is estimated to be completed in spring 2015.
This funding comes as a result of the $55 million Canada-Saskatchewan Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) 2011-2014 Agreement. Under the agreement, the Province of Saskatchewan will use the funds to create new and renovate existing affordable housing for households in need.
Annually, the Government of Canada, through CMHC, will invest approximately $2 billion in housing. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of close to 600,000 households living in existing social housing. In Saskatchewan, this represents an estimated 28,000 households. The remaining funding supports housing-related activities and affordable housing programs, including the Investment in Affordable Housing. These investments are improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people. Economic Action Plan 2013 continues this commitment with a federal investment of more than $1.25 billion over five years to renew the Investment in Affordable Housing to 2019. The Government of Canada will ensure that funds provided to provinces and territories support the use of apprentices, which will support training of skilled labour. Close to 177,600 households across Canada are no longer in housing need as a result of funding provided under the IAH from April 1, 2011 to December 31, 2013.
In October 2012, the Government of Saskatchewan released the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth: Vision 2020 and Beyond, which sets out the Government's vision for a province of 1.2 million people by 2020. The Plan identifies principles, goals and actions to ensure Saskatchewan is capturing the opportunities and meeting the challenges of a growing province. Since 2011, the government has invested $256 million to develop more than 4,500 units and repair more than 24,300 homes around the province.
To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642 or visit www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca.