Thanks to a $125,000 investment by the provincial government, the Women's House Serving Bruce and Grey can fix the foundation on the shelter building in Kincardine.
Dr. Helena Jaczek, Ontario minister of community and social services, was at the shelter, Wednesday morning, to tour the facility and the second-stage housing unit, and make the funding announcement.
"You have a very welcoming place here for women and children undergoing trauma," said Jaczek. "What you do with what you have is remarkable. I thank Women's House Serving Bruce and Grey for all you do to help these vulnerable people in society."
She said the funding will ensure the facility is safe and up to code, "so you can concentrate on the programs and services you provide for these women and children who are fleeing violence in the home."
Lisa Owen, interim executive director, welcomed Jaczek and was pleased to show her through the shelter and the second-stage housing.
"Welcome to you all," added Lori Harding of the board of directors. "This means a great deal for us at Women's House."
Owen said the southeast corner of the addition, on the east side of the shelter (outreach building), is sinking into the ground and needs to be fixed. "This funding announcement is really exciting news and we are so grateful to receive this financial boost."
Kincardine mayor Anne Eadie said she remembered when Women's House was first opened in Kincardine and people questioned the need for it. "That, in itself, showed it was necessary, even if just for the educational component."
She said the shelter is located in the old nurses' residence that was built in the early 1900s, and it's wonderful to have professional services and accommodation available.
"I remember when women and their families who needed help, had nowhere to go," she said. "On behalf of the Municipality of Kincardine, our council, staff and residents, welcome to Kincardine which has been rated the ninth best place to live in Ontario!"
After the announcement, while talking to local media, Jaczek said there was a real issue here that needed to be corrected.
"This is the nuts and bolts," she said. "We have to provide safe facilities for the clients, as well as for the staff. Our regional staff checks these things and ensures necessary items are brought to our attention."
When asked if the funding has more to do with the provincial election next year, Jaczek said there are 11 months yet until the election. "We've been a busy ministry; we've been making announcements like this regularly over the past three years."
Besides the money for Women's House, the ministry is also providing $32,300 for the Chippewas of Nawash in Neyaashiinigmiing, to replace the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system; $46,200 for Community Living of Hanover and Area to install a sprinkler system; and $393,400 for Participation Lodge Grey Bruce in Holland Centre to replace brickwork, door frames, doors, the electrical transfer switch and septic system, and repair waterproofing, the parking lot and driveway.
The investment is part of Ontario's Partner Facility Renewal program which helps local agencies repair and renovate their facilities to better serve people in the community. This support also helps agencies ensure their buildings meet improvements to Ontario's Fire Code, in order to keep residents safe.
In 2017-18, under this program, Ontario is investing about $16-million in more than 150 community service agencies for approximately 850 projects. The province is also investing $6.5-million in fire safety in more than 90 facilities from more than 30 community service agencies across the province.