Regina YWCA on Tuesday launched its $ 60-Million Center for Women and Families, which will provide shelter to 108 households and women and children fleeing domestic violence or experiencing homelessness.
YWCA Regina CEO Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen said: “Ensuring that women and families have a community to prevent crisis.”
“When a crisis occurs, we have a place to call home and the resources needed to go to support organizations,” he said Tuesday.
The 85,000-square-foot facility will provide crisis and prevention support through the YWCA, working with other community service organizations and attendance trainers.
The aim is to address barriers to keeping vulnerable women and children in homeless and violent situations.
The new facility will include a healing and festival lodge run by members of the tribal community to provide cultural contacts and ways to get to know the tribe.
It will feature multi-purpose community spaces, drop-in supports and access to essentials, communal kitchens and indoor and outdoor play areas.
Regina Mayor Sandra Masters said close allies need a safe haven for those fleeing violence.
“It will be a place where we can get those roundabout services that we talk about, from mental health to drug use support,” Masters said at an exciting event on Tuesday.
“But it is significant that indigenous knowledge and cultural practices are used to support one’s healing journey.”
The mayor shared a personal story about how Regina YWCA helped her best friend and mother when she was 18 years old.
The friend revealed that his mother was experiencing domestic abuse and had been tested at the YWCA in Regina.
The Masters helped her friend build her supplies, and the friend came to stay with the Masters family.
“She settled in with me that day [she] I finished 12th grade and lived with my parents. Her mother stayed at YWCA for two years and I went to visit Regina at YW with my friend, through security checks, “Masters said.
“Her mother did not feel comfortable coming out the doors because she did not feel safe.”
But Masters said his girlfriend’s mother went to her own house and became a grandmother.
“My friend went to school and went on to a very successful career,” Masters said.
“The web of impact that those two years created, a safe haven for her mom and my friend, allowed that success to happen.”
Speaking at the event on Tuesday, senior Diane Kaiswat said the community as a whole must work together for the protection of vulnerable women and children.
“People from the first countries have always lived in this area – Cree, Saltox, Lakota,” Kaiswad said.
“Now we’re all together, so we have to learn to work together.”
Ahmed Hussein, the federal housing minister, was at the official start of construction with $ 34 million in funding from the federal government. The province receives $ 1 million and donates land in the cathedral area of Regina. YWCA raises $ 20 million for the Regina project.
“In order to help break the cycle of homelessness and domestic violence, it is absolutely essential to create such options in the home,” Hussein said.
The facility is expected to open in the fall of 2024.