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Ontario Investing in Shelter Expansion in Toronto to Protect Vulnerable Women and Children

News Release

Ontario Investing in Shelter Expansion in Toronto to Protect Vulnerable Women and Children

Nellie’s New Shelter Will Better Support More Survivors of Violence

TORONTO — Ontario is helping to protect women and children from violence by investing $12 million in Nellie’s, a Toronto-based shelter for women and children fleeing violence, so it can move to a larger, more modern site.

“Women and children must live free from violence,” said Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. “Nellie’s is operating at capacity, and as a result, women and children in need of support are often referred elsewhere. This investment enables Nellie’s to build a new, welcoming space to help more women and children fleeing violence.”

Nellie’s new location, which is expected to open in fall 2020, will be accessible and merge a 40-bed shelter with outreach and administrative offices under one roof. Currently, Nellie’s operates two separate buildings: one for its shelter and another for its community support and outreach services for women living in the community at risk of becoming homeless. Ontario’s investment will increase Nellie’s number of shelter beds by more than 10 per cent and enable the agency to support survivors more efficiently.

“We’re very pleased about the government’s commitment to Nellie’s and the women and children we support,” said Donna Kellway, co-chair of Nellie’s board of directors. “Our agency has helped thousands of survivors over the years, but the needs are growing.”

Ontario’s violence against women’s shelters serve more than 17,000 women and children yearly across the province. Nellie’s has a strong focus on supporting marginalized women who have experienced violence, including women who may have been impacted by other issues such as addiction and mental health challenges.

“Our new location will be bigger, more accessible and increase privacy for women and children staying in the shelter,” said Sherece Taffe, co-chair of Nellie’s board of directors. “Currently, we only have nine bedrooms for 40 beds. These shared spaces can be challenging. The individuals we support have had traumatic experiences and come from diverse backgrounds. Our new site will have a total of 22 bedrooms and 20 bathrooms. This will help us support survivors much better, including single women and women with children.”

“Our government is committed to combatting violence against women in all its forms and lifting individuals out of poverty,” said Dunlop.

The government is also currently consulting with community partners and agencies to hear from frontline workers how to integrate and improve services more broadly for women in Ontario who need it most.

Quick Facts

  • One in three women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • Immigrant and refugee women are more vulnerable to violence due to language barriers, isolation from their family, precarious work or uncertain legal status.
  • The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services is investing more than $166M in supports for survivors and violence prevention initiatives this year.
  • Ontario recently boosted support for rural frontline agencies to increase collaboration, strengthen service delivery, improve culturally relevant supports for Indigenous women, and reduce geographic and transportation barriers.

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