Women and children fleeing domestic violence with soon have access to second stage housing to start new lives for themselves and their children in La Ronge.
The creation of four new two-bedroom apartments comes as part of a $1.8 million funding boost from the federal and provincial governments for Piwapan Women’s Centre and Sapohtewan House. In total, the governments are spending $4.2 million to improve housing options for victims of domestic violence. Piwapan Executive Director Karen Sanderson said final furniture arrangements are currently being made, and families should be able to move into the apartments by July.
“Right now, we have housing available through our shelter for six weeks,” she said. “With the second stage housing, we can offer housing for up to 18 months.”
Since the funding was originally announced, Sanderson said planning occurred for renovations at the shelter, which include a new accessible suite with washroom, a room for programming, and two offices for staff. Work on the expansion and renovation began in May, she said, and the changes will help consolidate all their services under one roof.
Another organization excited about the enhancements for those escaping domestic violence was North Sask Victim Services. Executive Director Erin Carter said Piwapan offers the only shelter for women in northern Saskatchewan, and having no place to go is often the biggest barrier people face when leaving intimate partner violence. When finding a place for women and children to go, Carter said it can be difficult, as shelters often operate at a high capacity.
“We look at this as an absolute blessing that they’re being able to expand the services they already deliver,” she said. “In the tri-community area and the North in general, we have high rates of intimate partner violence, so oftentimes there can be a little bit of a waiting game.”
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