Richard Froese
South Peace News

The Peace River Regional Women’s Shelter is receiving $400,000 from the Alberta government to cover clean-up costs at the facility.

The shelter temporarily closed its unit of emergency shelter bed earlier in the winter for renovations when black mould was discovered in the building, states a government news release dated Feb. 27.

Peace River MLA Dan Williams is delighted with the funding to help the shelter clean up the mould in order to reopen to provide support services to protect women and children from violence.

“Families escaping violence deserve to know there is a safe place for them to go and get the support they need,” says Williams, who also serves as minister of mental health and addiction.

Emergency shelter beds are scheduled to reopen at the end of March.

The space for second-stage beds was not affected by the mould.

Children and Family Services Minister Searle Turton was immediately advised when the mould was discovered, says Carol Van Slyke, who chairs the board of the shelter.

“He and ministry staff were sincere in their desire to help us with this unique situation,” Van Slyke says.

“We greatly appreciate the support we received from all levels of government and our community.”

At the time the shelter closed for renovations, alternative accommodations were immediately found for families who needed the service.

The women’s shelter continues to provide crisis support and outreach services, such as counselling, safety assessments and planning as well as helping clients find safe alternative accommodations during renovations.

Turton says the shelter is vital.

“Women’s shelters are crucial to ensure the safety and well-being of women and children impacted by family violence,” Searle says.

“We worked closely with the Peace River Regional Women’s Shelter to make sure it has the supports and funding needed to help clients.”

The local women’s shelter receives $1,262,490 annually from the provincial government to operate a 24-bed women’s emergency shelter and a three-unit second-state shelter.

Women’s emergency shelters provide short-term emergency accommodation, basic needs and connections to additional supports so individuals and families who flee domestic violence have a safe place to go.

Alberta annually invests in more than $54 million for women’s shelters, including annual funding to operate 31 women’s shelters in the province and 27 second-stage shelters.