Big donations bring YWCA closer to its goal
- Liam O’Connor | February 21, 2023
Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC) is providing a $3-million grant to support the YWCA Centre for Women and Families project.
“Our government is proud to provide further support to this important project,” Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation Gene Makowsky said in a news release. “This will connect women and children in vulnerable situations to a safe, stable, and affordable place to live, as we continue to work with our valued partners at YWCA Regina to provide affordable housing to families in need.”
During the Grey Cup weekend, the YWCA received a $1-million dollar donation from Mosaic that will go toward the new community cafe and employment program in their new facility being built.
“Mosaic is honoured to be a positive force for change in Regina by partnering with the YWCA on this transformational project,” said Mosaic CEO Joc O’Rourke.
The cafe and kitchen will be one of the job opportunities for women to build an employment history.
The new 85,000 sq ft YWCA Regina Centre for Women and Families is looking to “decolonize” the typical nature of shelters and bring women and families out of the cycle of trauma.
In a press release from the YWCA, the new facility will offer “wrap-around services” to address barriers that have long kept women and children in crisis.
Services to be expected at the facility will feature community multipurpose rooms, communal kitchens, and indoor and outdoor playrooms. In addition, there will be other drop-in supports and a healing lodge.
YWCA CEO Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen believes the healing lodge is a great addition to the new location because it offers a sense of identity.
“Having access to Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and ceremony, and Elders, and medicine is a huge important addition in the center,” said Coomber-Bendtsen. “Because that also gives a sense of belonging, a sense of identity, and you know, that other piece of kind of, hope, to help with healing that we don’t currently have in our facility.”
The hope with this new centre, according to Coomber-Bendtsen, is that it will offer more of a sense of community than traditional shelters.
“Thriving healthy community is such an important part of a person’s capacity to see hope,” said Coomber-Bendtsen. “And then potentially heal from traumas.”
Coomber-Bendtsen said that the YWCA wants $9 million from the community to help fund the new building. Also according to her, the cost of the new facility has increased from its original expected budget of $45 to $63 million because of inflation.
The new YWCA centre is expected to be completed in the fall of 2024. When completed, the YWCA Regina Centre for Women and Families will provide 68 affordable housing units for women and children, as well as 40 emergency shelter spaces that are funded by the ministries of Social Services and Justice.
YWCA Regina helps families reach their full potential by addressing the complex issues that women and communities face. It provides childcare, shelter and housing, community programs, family support programs, and outreach services.
Approximately 80 per cent of the women who come to them are fleeing violence. Saskatchewan has the highest rate of domestic violence and sexual assault in Canada, with 90 per cent of the victims being women and girls.