May 2, 2023

We’re Doing The Best That We Can’: Sudbury Women’s Centre Scrapes By Without Stable Funding

Article by: CBC News

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Last fiscal year, the centre received $210,099 in federal pandemic support funding.

The Sudbury Women’s Centre doesn’t have a stable funding source, and its executive director says that’s a problem.

In the last fiscal year, from April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, the centre helped almost 700 clients, but only had the funding to support 350 women, said executive director Giulia Carpenter.

“As the pandemic increased in time, we started to receive more phone calls,” she said.

“We were told that it was always safer to stay at home due to COVID and that’s not always the case for our clients.”

The centre provides support for women, girls, trans and non-binary people who have been impacted by domestic violence or difficult life circumstances.

During its last fiscal year, it received $210,099 from the Canadian Women’s Foundation, through the federal government, to help provide services during the pandemic.

Carpenter said they used the funding to purchase basic need items for their clients and help connect some with shelters if they needed to escape domestic violence.

But later this year, the federal government is ending pandemic funding for women’s shelters and non-profit organizations that help domestic violence victims.

Since April 2020, the government has provided $300 million in emergency pandemic funding to those organizations.

Marci Ien, the federal minister for the status of women, told CBC News the government “will not leave women and organizations in a lurch,” but did not commit to renewing the money.

“I will not say at this point that I won’t extend funding. I think that these are decisions that are being made,” Ien said.

“I will say and continue to say to the organizations that we’ve had their back and will continue to have her back.”

The funding cut comes after the recent inquiry report on the mass shooting that left 22 people dead in Nova Scotia called intimate partner and family violence an “epidemic” that needs to be funded by all orders of government at pandemic levels.

Carpenter said the Sudbury Women’s Centre has always needed to rely on multiple funding sources, including donations, to keep its services running.

“We apply for any grants that we see that would fit our mandate and for activities that we work on here.”

They are currently waiting to hear whether they received six different grants.

Without a stable source of funding, the centre has three support staff members who are just funded for part-time hours.

“We’re doing the best that we can,” Carpenter said.

“We would never turn anyone away, but there will be a time that we will have to unfortunately say, you know, we can’t help because my staff is maxed out.”

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