New Ernestine's Women's Shelter opens doors for more women and children fleeing abuse



    Shelter features more beds, expanded services

    TORONTO, March 8 /CNW/ - Ernestine's Women's Shelter today officially
opened a new 32-bed facility for women and children fleeing violence. The new
shelter will provide a safe haven for an additional 50 women and their
children each year and offers a variety of accessibility features.
    The new facility also allows Ernestine's to increase its outreach and
counseling services, as well as to expand older children's services and food
delivery programs.
    The $4.9 million project to expand and improve services at Ernestine's
received more than $3.2 million from the Ontario government. The federal
government contributed $566,000 from the Government of Canada's Supporting
Communities Partnership Initiative, administered by the City of Toronto, and
$550,000 through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) Shelter
Enhancement Program. In addition, CMHC provided an interest-free proposal
development loan of $100,000, of which $35,000 is forgivable and $45,164 was
provided through Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency to
support increased energy efficiency levels of the building. Several local
partners also contributed funding.
    "Canada's New Government is proud to help provide safe and supportive
housing to vulnerable women and children in Toronto," said the Honourable
Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development. "This
funding is helping Ernestine's Women's Shelter give women and their families
hope, dignity and a path to a safer, better and stronger future."
    "We're on the side of vulnerable women, and we understand that providing
a safe place for victims of domestic violence to rebuild their lives is
vital," said Madeleine Meilleur, Ontario Minister of Community and Social
Services. "That's why we launched a four-year, $82 million Domestic Violence
Action Plan to strengthen Ontario's shelter system to serve more women and
children who need protection from abuse."
    "Each day women are victims of violence," said Mayor David Miller, City
of Toronto. "Ernestine's Women's Shelter is important to this city because
facilities like it can help turn lives around. The City of Toronto is proud to
be a partner in the development and construction of this new building."
    Since 1983, Ernestine's Women's Shelter has provided short-term crisis
intervention and long-term support that has helped more than 3,000 women and
their children leave abusive situations and find a new beginning. In 2005, 89
women and 50 children received shelter at Ernestine's, and more than 300 women
and children received support through the shelter's outreach programs.
    "This new building is an investment in the lives of women and children
for years to come," said Sharlene Tygesen, director of community and staff
relations at Ernestine's. "We are pleased to celebrate International Women's
Day with the ability to help more women and children in need. This building
marks a commitment to ending that violence, and breaking the barriers that
women and children face in finding safety."
    The McGuinty government's four-year Domestic Violence Action Plan builds
on existing domestic violence programs and services and includes new
initiatives. The plan places strong emphasis on early intervention and
prevention to help reduce domestic violence and provides better community
supports for abused women and their children.
    Canada's New Government recently announced that the National Homelessness
Initiative, scheduled to end in March 2007, will be replaced by an improved
strategy, the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) on April 1, 2007.
    The new HPS will provide $269.6 million over two years to help
communities across Canada combat homelessness more effectively. The strategy
focuses on a housing-first approach to homelessness, recognizing that housing
stability is essential to self-sufficiency and full participation in Canadian
society. With its clear goals of improved partnerships, enhanced
sustainability and tangible results, the new Strategy will provide concrete,
meaningful and lasting results for Canadians in need.

    CMHC's Shelter Enhancement Program offers financial assistance for the
repair, rehabilitation and improvement of existing shelters for victims of
family violence, as well as the acquisition or construction of new shelters
and second stage housing where needed. CMHC's Proposal Development Funding
provides repayable interest-free loans to facilitate the development of
affordable housing.

    Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home
to a diverse population of more than 2.6 million people. It is the economic
engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North
America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for
quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto's government is
dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

    
    Disponible en français

     www.cmhc.ca  www.homelessness.gc.ca  www.mcss.gov.on.ca  www.toronto.ca
                              www.ernestines.ca

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    





For further information:

For further information: Lesley Harmer, Office of Minister of Human
Resources and Social Development Canada, (819) 994-2482; Beth Bailey, Canada
Mortgage and Housing Corporation, (416) 218-3355; Marc Despatie, Minister's
Office Ministry of Community and Social Services, (416) 433-8485; Catherine
Kaye, Service Canada - Ontario Region, (416) 954-7302; Paul Doig, Ministry of
Community and Social Services, (416) 325-5187; Cindy Wagman, Ernestine's
Women's Shelter, (416) 743-1733 ext. 2015; Peggy Byrne, City of Toronto, (416)
392-0051

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Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services

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