Housing

YWCA gets $1M to give women safe spaces in small NWT communities


YWCA NWT will use $1 million in new funding to help keep women safe in three of the territory’s remote communities, using lessons learned in British Columbia.

The federal government announced the funding – part of a nationwide strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence – in Yellowknife on Friday.

The three communities in question, one in each of the Dehcho, Sahtu, and Tłı̨chǫ regions, have yet to be identified.

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Dubbed a “safe homes pilot,” the project will not create formal, round-the-clock shelters but will help communities to provide options for women who need somewhere safe to go.

Lyda Fuller, the soon-to-retire executive director of YWCA NWT, told the CBC: “A safe home is an identified space in a community that might only be staffed when somebody needs that particular option in a community.

“It can be a house, somebody’s home, it can be some kind of public space … maybe the nursing station.”

The YWCA already provides a range of transitional housing and shelters for women and families in the NWT, alongside related programming.

In a news release, the federal government said the money would allow YWCA NWT to ” test different ways of providing safe homes in three smaller, remote communities in the Northwest Territories that currently do not have safe spaces for women who experience violence.”

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The project is designed to learn from a safe homes program in BC – created as part of that province’s 10-year, $734-million plan to build and operate 1,500 new units of housing for women.

“For many years, women have asked for safe homes and other resources in their communities,” said Fuller on Friday.

“We look forward to making new partnerships and creating service provisions that are truly survivor-driven in our efforts to address gender-based violence.”

Michael McLeod, the NWT’s Liberal MP, is due to make a second funding announcement in Inuvik on Monday.

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