February 8, 2022

Photo courtesy of Girls E-Mentorship

Women’s Shelters Canada (WSC) is thrilled to be the recipient of a generous $2 million grant from the Slaight Family Foundation to provide capacity to facilitate the creation of 16 new second stage shelters in Canada.

“This grant will have an enormous impact on the shelter sector and the women and children it serves,” says Lise Martin, executive director of Women’s Shelters Canada. “We have seen how violence against women has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. In January 2022 alone, 20 women and girls were victims of femicide. Second stage shelters are specifically designed to serve women who are most at risk of post-separation violence, including femicide.”

Second stage shelters are a form of transitional supportive housing for survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) who are at risk of danger post-separation and need additional time and support to heal from their trauma and rebuild their lives. Currently, there are approximately 125 Second Stage Shelters, compared to 428 emergency shelters, with very few in rural, remote, northern, and Indigenous communities. The funds received will directly assist emergency violence against women shelters and transition houses in the process of creating a second stage shelter.

“This grant is a result of action-based research,” said Krys Maki, research and policy manager at Women’s Shelters Canada. “We’ve been conducting research for years on the supports second stage shelters provide and recommending that significantly more resources be put into this form of transitional supportive housing for women most at risk of post-separation violence. Our research has shown that these shelters disrupt the cycle of abuse and prevents women’s homelessness. This grant provides us with the opportunity to mobilize our recommendations to enact real change for survivors of IPV.”

In total, the Slaight Family Foundation is donating $15 million to 12 organizations across Canada focused on supporting some of the unique challenges faced by women and girls. This initiative will fund programs that reduce gender-based violence, support those in emergency situations, and increase opportunities for education and jobs, with a special focus on Indigenous, Black, racialized, refugee, and immigrant women and girls.