More spaces at safe places for vulnerable women

Press Release

Mar 19, 2024

Every year, thousands of women experiencing family violence and abuse seek help from women’s shelters. These shelters help survivors overcome some of the darkest circumstances of their lives by providing a safe, supportive environment and critical supports, but have faced capacity challenges and increased demand for services.

Alberta’s government is proud to support women’s shelters and the valuable work they do to keep Albertans safe. Right now, $5 million is being distributed to women’s shelters in 17 communities across the province to create additional spaces for those fleeing violence. If passed, Budget 2024 would see Alberta increase annual funding to women’s shelters by $5 million over the next three years.

“Vulnerable women and children should always have a safe place to turn. By delivering on our election promise to women’s shelters, our government is helping keep more Alberta families safe, and empowering survivors’ healing journeys.”

Searle Turton, Minister of Children and Family Services

“Alberta’s government is engaging extensively to create a made-in-Alberta action plan that supports survivors and addresses the root causes of gender-based violence. This funding would help women’s shelters across the province continue to address the needs of women and girls escaping violence, building stronger communities.”

Tanya Fir, Minister of Arts, Culture, and Status of Women

Alberta’s government is rolling out the full $10 million over four years, $5 million in 2023-24, $1.5 million in 2024-25, an additional $1.5 million in 2025-26, and $2 million in 2026-27. This investment is funding an additional 104 beds at shelters across the province, including doubling the number of beds available in Whitecourt and adding new beds at the Banff YWCA and Eileen’s Place.

In addition, funding will support innovative programs to help meet high demand in rural areas. Solutions to enhance supports for rural shelters include $350,000 for Rowan House Society’s new, first-of-its-kind program in High River, which empowers women to have agency over their choices while experiencing domestic violence, as well as $275,000 for Big Hill Haven in Cochrane, which has no physical shelter and rents units so those fleeing abuse have somewhere local to stay.

“Our members are grateful Alberta’s government is delivering on its funding commitment with a significant investment up front, as well as providing more flexibility for women’s shelters to better address survivors’ needs.”

Jan Reimer, CEO, Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters

“Wellspring is excited that we will now be fully funded for operational costs, and will see our beds double from 11 to 22. The partnership with the province speaks volumes about government understanding the complexities of family violence.”

Rebecca Wells, executive director, Wellspring Family Resource & Crisis Centre

“There are different ways to help women and families experiencing abuse. We’re thankful the province is recognizing our approach in providing supports for survivors that will minimize trauma while keeping them safe and connected to their community.”

Wanda McGinnis, executive director, Big Hill Haven

Finally, Alberta’s government is also initiating long-requested changes to women’s shelter grant agreements in 2024-25. Women’s shelter providers have been asking for flexibility in how to allocate funding that works best for each shelter’s unique circumstances and helps them better address survivors’ needs. The changes to these grant agreements will be effective as of April 1.

Quick facts

  • Government invests $55.8 million in annual funding for women’s shelters to help individuals and families get the support they need.
  • For 2023/2024, more than 3,500 adults and 2,750 children were admitted to women’s emergency shelters. No one is turned away from a women’s emergency shelter without being offered help. Support is always available for women and families experiencing violence.
  • Funding recipients are located in Banff, Brooks, Calgary, Camrose, Cochrane, Cold Lake, Edmonton, Fairview, Fort McMurray, Grand Prairie, High River, Lloydminster, Morinville, Rocky Mountain House, Sherwood Park, St. Paul and Whitecourt.
  • Albertans can get 24/7 support by calling or texting the Family Violence Info Line at 310-1818. Phone support is offered in more than 170 languages, including all Indigenous languages spoken in Canada. A 24/7 confidential webchat is also available in English online.

Budget 2024 is a responsible plan to strengthen health care and education, build safe and supportive communities, manage the province’s resources wisely and promote job creation to continue to build Alberta’s competitive advantage.

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