W.I.S.H. comes through for women and children in Kelowna

    KELOWNA, BC, May 23 /CNW/ - Representatives from the Government of Canada
and the Central Okanagan Emergency Shelter Society joined today to celebrate
the official opening of the Women's Interim Supportive Home - or W.I.S.H. This
four bedroom housing project will provide supportive housing for women who
have experienced abuse and violence in relationships.
    Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, on behalf of
the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills
Development Canada, and Minister Responsible for the Canada Mortgage and
Housing Corporation, along with the Central Okanagan Emergency Shelter
Society's Alice Gro, President of the Board of Directors and Laura Banman,
Manager of Programs and Human Resources, attended the ceremony.
    "The Government of Canada is committed to making affordable housing
available in British Columbia and across Canada for those who need it most,"
said MP Cannan. "The creation of this project here in Kelowna will provide
women and their children access to safe, supportive housing, and help them
start a new page in their lives."
    Through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Shelter Enhancement
Program, the Government of Canada provided $460,000 to W.I.S.H. for the
purchase of the second-stage housing facility. This program assists in
repairing, rehabilitating and improving existing shelters for women and their
children, youth or men who are victims of family violence, and provides
financial assistance for the acquisition or construction of new shelters and
second-stage housing where needed.
    The Central Okanagan Emergency Shelter Society was able to provide an
additional $28,000 needed to purchase the building through the generous
contributions of the community. Most of the labour was provided voluntarily
and as in-kind contributions by local trades-people. The W.I.S.H. facility
includes a variety of support services such as counselling, job search support
and life skills training, to assist women in their transition to a healthier,
stable life and longer term housing.
    "The establishment of the W.I.S.H. residence has been the fulfillment of
a longstanding vision for us," said Laura Banman, Manager of Programs and
Human Resources, Central Okanagan Emergency Shelter Society. "We are grateful
to CMHC and the generous community support that has made it a reality."

    Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has been Canada's national
housing agency for more than 60 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians
access a wide choice of quality, affordable homes, while making vibrant,
healthy communities and cities a reality across the country.
    Last fall, the Government of Canada committed more than $1.9 billion over
the next five years to improve and build new affordable housing and to help
the homeless. Canada's Economic Action Plan builds on this with an additional
one-time investment of more than $2 billion over two years in new and existing
social housing and lending of up to another $2 billion to municipalities for
housing-related infrastructure.

For further information:

For further information: Media Inquiries: Michelle Bakos, Press
Secretary, Office of Minister Finley, Tel.: (819) 994-2482; Karen Leboe,
Central Okanagan Emergency Shelter Society, Tel.: (250) 763-1040; Tom Siems,
Regional Manager, Community Development, Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation, Tel.: (778) 228-7521; For more information on CMHC's Assisted
Housing programs, call 1-800-668-2642 or visit www.cmhc.ca

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