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Press release, YWCA Canada launch the first National Emergency Support Fund for Survivors; NESS Fund

Published on 18/07/2022 by YWCA Canada


(Vancouver, Quebec City, Hamilton, Halifax, St. Thomas Elgin, Sudbury, Brandon, Toronto, Muskoka, St. John’s, Regina and Saskatoon, July 18, 2022) – YWCA Canada, the nation’s oldest and largest gender equity organization, announced the launch of Canada’s first-ever National Emergency Survivor Support Fund, in partnership with 12 of its member associations across the country.  

The YWCA’s fund provides women, gender-diverse people and their families experiencing intimate partner/domestic violence and current residents of emergency shelters with immediate financial support to escape abusive situations and begin rebuilding their lives.  

“The creation of a support payment for survivors was the number one demand voiced by women and gender diverse people experiencing intimate partner and domestic violence. Until this urgent and unmet need is addressed by government, YWCA Canada is taking action to help survivors escape violence and rebuild their lives” says Raine Liliefeldt, the Interim CEO & Director of Member Services at YWCA Canada. 

Every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner (Joel Roy and Sharon Marcellus, Statistics Canada, 2019). Every night, approximately 6,000 women and children sleep in a shelter because home is not a safe place (Sara Beattie and Hope Hutchins, Statistics Canada, 2014). Those numbers have been on the rise since the pandemic began, and there is currently a gap in support and services for survivors urgently fleeing unsafe situations or living in emergency shelters.  

“A lack of financial resources is one of the most common reasons survivors stay in abusive situations. Without help, survivors have few options available to them to protect themselves and their families”. explains Raine Liliefeldt.For survivors who are staying at emergency shelters, a lack of financial resources means their ability to start over is at risk and lengthens their stay. This in turn means many shelters do not have enough space and are forced to turn survivors and their children away.” 

The YWCA’s fund will provide immediate financial support to help survivors with urgent expenses including housing, utilities, storage fees, furniture, moving and travel expenses. Survivors will also be connected to wrap-a-round transition services including counselling, and connections to healthcare, employment, and legal assistance as needed. 

YWCAs in Metro Vancouver, Quebec City, Hamilton, Halifax, St. Thomas Elgin, Sudbury, Brandon, Toronto, Muskoka, St. John’s, Regina and Saskatoon are currently accepting applications from survivors.  

The YWCA National Emergency Survivor Support Fund is made possible through the transformational support of the founding partner, the Slaight Family Foundation. This funding will allow YWCA to distribute 1500 grants over four years, with 375 grants being distributed to survivors in 2022. YWCA Canada is actively fundraising to be able to expand the fund to give more grants to survivors across more communities in Canada. 

YWCA Canada acknowledges the generous support of Aviva Canada and the Torrid Foundation.  

About YWCA Canada  

YWCA Canada is a leading voice for women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender diverse people. For 150 years, we’ve been at the forefront of a movement to fight gender-based violence, build affordable housing and advocate for workplace equity. We work to advance gender equity by responding to urgent needs in communities, through national advocacy and grassroots initiatives. Local YWCAs invest over $258 million annually to support over 350,000 individuals across the nation. Today, we engage young leaders, diverse communities and corporate partners to achieve our vision of a safe and equitable Canada for all.  

National Contact:  

Amanda Arella  

Director of Public Policy, Advocacy & Strategic Communications  

Aarella@ywcacanada.ca ; 437.997.0992  

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