Families Minister Rochelle Squires, the minister responsible for status of women, has announced that the province is introducing a new funding model for family violence shelters.

The new model will see $3.2 million invested in the first year to help support staff and increase salaries. The new funding model will focus on increasing the capacity and quality, as opposed to the older model, which was based on the amount of people that stayed in the shelter overnight.

"Ensuring adequate supports for survivors of family violence is a key priority and engagement with the sector has helped us identify areas where improvements are needed and where steps are already underway," notes Squires. "Over the last several years, it has become increasingly apparent the current funding model for shelter agencies has become inadequate and inequitable. This new model will help align funding equity, ensure accountability and better protect vulnerable Manitobans."

Changes to the current shelter model include additional funding for crisis line operation, easy modification to bring in future agencies, and the incorporation of gender and diversity studies. COVID-19 and the increased demand for services made for concern for both workers and those attending the shelter.

"The Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters would like to thank the government of Manitoba for their support of provincial family violence (FV) shelters," says Amrita Chavan, communications specialist, Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters. "The pandemic has not only increased the risks and severity of gender-based violence (GBV), but it has also affected the ability of FV shelters to continue their life-saving work on the frontlines. The new funding model will allow shelters to develop tangible solutions to historic operational challenges, including access to training, retention of qualified and consistent staffing, adequate resources for clients with complex needs, and safe staffing levels. This investment is a much-needed first step towards equitable funding that will help each Manitoba shelter and its front-line staff better support those affected by GBV."

For the full press release regarding the funding model, click here.