Women's Place St. Catharines and North Niagara Shelter officially opens doors to more women and children fleeing abuse

    ST. CATHARINES, ON, Nov. 16 /CNW/ - More women and their children fleeing
abuse will continue to benefit from Women's Place St. Catharines and North
Niagara, a newly renovated and expanded 34-bed emergency shelter that focuses
on a safe, supportive environment.
    "Our government is proud to help provide safe and supportive housing to
women and their children who are experiencing family violence," said MP Rick
Dykstra, on behalf of the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human
Resources and Social Development. "This funding is helping Women's Place give
women living in St. Catharines and North Niagara hope, dignity and a path to a
safer, better and stronger future."
    The $4.5 million project to expand the services at Women's Place received
more than $1.8 million through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's
Shelter Enhancement Program and $228,204 in federal homelessness funding. The
Government of Ontario provided more than $1.1 million. Several local donors
and partners also contributed funding by raising more than $1.3 million.
    "Our government values partnerships with strong community organizations
like Women's Place. Working together, we will continue to invest in safe and
secure temporary housing for women and their children, an important first step
toward rebuilding their lives free of violence," said MPP St. Catharines, Jim
    The Ontario government's investment builds on its Domestic Violence
Action Plan. The plan places strong emphasis on early intervention and
prevention to help reduce domestic violence and provides community supports
for abused women and their children.
    Women's Place St. Catharines and North Niagara provides 24-hour telephone
counselling, one-on-one and group counselling, safe, temporary shelter, meals
and emergency clothing, and children's counselling and recreation programs.
    "Our new facility will allow women the space and privacy they need to
heal and consider their options. Children will now have a safe place to play.
We can now help more women and children flee abuse," said Anne Armstrong,
Executive Director of Women's Place St. Catharines and North Niagara. Ms.
Armstrong added, "We cannot do this work without the support of our Government
partners, donors and community. Violence against women is not just a women's
issue, it's a community issue that traumatizes our women and children and
costs Niagara approximately $71 million a year in social service, healthcare
and lost productivity costs."
    On April 1, 2007, the Government of Canada announced the new Homelessness
Partnering Strategy (HPS) which is providing $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 women and
their children, youth or men who are victims of family violence, as well as
for the acquisition or construction of new shelters and second-stage housing
where needed.

    As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on over 60 years of
experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally
sustainable, and affordable homes - homes that will continue to create vibrant
and healthy communities and cities across the country. For more information,
visit www.cmhc.ca or call 1-800-668-2642.

For further information:

For further information: Carlene Siopis, Canada Mortgage and Housing
Corporation, (416) 529-2710; Wendy Murray, Women's Place St. Catharines and
North Niagara, (905) 641-1965, ext 231; Jeff O'Grady, Minister's Office,
Ministry of Community and Social Services, (416) 325-5450

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