The provincial government is providing funding of $1.53 million to Velma's House Safe Space to supply better resources and tools to help sexually exploited women and survivors of gender-based violence.
"There is an increasing need for 24-7 safe spaces for vulnerable women in Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba," says Families Minister Rochelle Squires, who is responsible for the status of women. "Our government is pleased to provide this annual funding to Velma’s House, so vulnerable women can access supports, meals, and services and have a low-barrier place to sleep at any time of the day or night."
As a project of Ka Ni Kanichihk, Velma's House is one of the few 24/7 safe spaces in Manitoba that cares for and supports adult women who have been sexually exploited.
Beginning in March 2021, the facility has taken residence in a building on Sherbrook Street in Winnipeg and had a capacity of 10 people at a time, they also weren't licensed for overnight services. So, in October 2022 they made a change. Ka Ni Kanichihk announced that Velma's House would move to a new location, still in the city, where it would be able to provide services to vulnerable women every day throughout the entire year.
"It’s so critical that as a society we all work together to address the barriers and inequities that exist. The folks who access Velma’s House face barriers most of us cannot imagine – in every facet of their lives. Velma’s House is the one place they can go where the doors are always open," says Yvonne (Dodie) Jordaan, Executive Director of Ka Ni Kanichihk. "Velma’s House is Indigenous-led, and the programming and services were developed and continue to be guided and shaped by the community."
Resources offered by Velma's House include access to basic needs such as meals, a safe place to rest, hygiene products, laundry and shower facilities. Other services are offered like employment counselling, housing support, assistance navigating the healthcare system, Employment and Income Assistance and Child and Family Services.
Velma’s House is open to anyone aged 18 and older who identifies as female including those from the gender-diverse community. It is a judgement-free and empowering environment, with visitors being treated with love and care.
For more information about Velma's House, click here.