New shelter to help victims of family violence

    MEDICINE HAT, AB, Aug. 10 /CNW/ - The Medicine Hat Women's Shelter
Society, three levels of government and community groups joined forces to make
a difference in the lives of victims of family violence in Alberta. A special
ribbon-cutting ceremony in Medicine Hat today marked the grand opening of
Musasa House, a new second stage shelter for women and children.
    The Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social
Development; the Honourable Robert Renner, MLA for Medicine Hat; His Worship
Garth Vallely, Mayor of Medicine Hat; and representatives from the Medicine
Hat Women's Shelter Society attended today's ceremony.
    "Canada's New Government is proud to invest in such significant programs
that provide safe and supportive housing to vulnerable women and children in
Medicine Hat," said Minister Solberg. "This funding will help Musasa House
give women and their families hope, dignity and a path to a safer, better and
stronger future."
    Funding for the project includes $800,000 in federal assistance under
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) Shelter Enhancement Program
(SEP) and $500,000 from the Canada-Alberta Affordable Housing Program. The
project also received more than $300,000 from the provincially-funded
Community Facility Enhancement Program, as well as land contributions from the
City of Medicine Hat, private donations, and funding from the Medicine Hat
Women's Shelter Society.
    "Musasa House is more than bricks and mortar. It is a symbol of caring
and hope that projects under the Canada-Alberta Affordable Housing Program
have been able to provide," said Ray Danyluk, Minister of Municipal Affairs
and Housing. "We must continue to work with our partners from all orders of
government, agencies and the community to find creative solutions that address
the housing challenges that we are experiencing in Alberta."
    "Medicine Hat identified a need for longer term safe housing initiatives
and in response a collective and cooperative effort between individuals,
businesses, service clubs, and provincial and federal funding came together to
create the Musasa House, the only second stage facility in Southern Alberta,"
said City of Medicine Hat Mayor Garth Vallely. "The courage, vision and
dedication of many people made this happen, especially the members of the
Phoenix Safe House Board. Medicine Hat has taken the initiative to address the
safety and economic needs for families and empowered them with the ability to
make choices that will ultimately enable them to travel the next road in their
journey of life."
    The 10 townhouse units will provide housing for women and children during
their transition from shelter living to independent living. The Medicine Hat
Women's Shelter Society provides a short term, safe and supportive environment
for battered women and children and provides the opportunity to learn of
services and alternatives for those women and their families to facilitate
decisions about their future.
    "The Medicine Hat Women's Shelter Society believes that no woman or child
should be forced to remain in a violent or abusive environment due to a lack
of alternatives," said Natasha Carvalho, Executive Director of the Medicine
Hat Women's Shelter Society. "We are attempting to rectify that problem in
southern Alberta so that families will have not only a safe place to go, but
the time in which to heal and adjust to independent living, thereby reducing
the number of times they re-enter emergency facilities. It is our hope that
Musasa House will provide families with that necessary bridge to an
independent life, full of hope and trust, and free forever from the
debilitating effects of family violence."
    CMHC's Shelter Enhancement Program provides financial assistance for
repairing, rehabilitating and improving existing shelters for women, children
and men who are victims of family violence. Funding under the program is also
available to assist in the acquisition or construction of new shelters and
second stage housing where needed.
    The Canada-Alberta Affordable Housing Program has assisted in the
creation of sustainable rental housing for low- to moderate-income Albertans,
through the construction of new or renovated affordable housing units. Under
the program close to $200 million was committed to affordable housing projects
throughout the province that will lead to the development of close to 3,700

For further information:

For further information: Natasha Carvalho, Executive Director, Medicine
Hat Women's Shelter Society, (403) 527-8223; Kimberlee Jones, Senior
Communications Consultant, CMHC Communications, Tel: (403) 515-3048; Robert
Storrier, Public Affairs Officer, Municipal Affairs and Housing, (780)
415-9950, Dial 310-0000 for toll free access outside Edmonton; Jody Lamb,
Corporate Communications Manager, City of Medicine Hat, (403) 502-8071

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