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New Shelter and Healing Centre for Assaulted Women Marks Official Opening

TORONTO, Ontario, December 13, 2004 — Dignitaries, staff, volunteers and members of the local community today helped cut the ribbon of hope as Emily Stowe Shelter for Women officially opened the newly constructed 30-bed facility in Scarborough. The shelter's new home was made possible through the continued efforts of the shelter, the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and City of Toronto.

The Emily Stowe Shelter for Women is an organization that provides emergency housing, support services and referrals to assaulted women and their children. Their programs include counselling, job training, skills development and creative, educational activities.

The federal commitment of $2 million to the shelter was made through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's (CMHC) Shelter Enhancement Program (SEP). The program assists in repairing, rehabilitating and improving existing shelters for women and children, youth or men who are victims of family violence, and in acquiring or building new shelters and second-stage housing where needed.

Additionally, the Government of Canada's National Homelessness Initiative contributed $835,535 for facility improvements and enhanced programs and services for shelter residents. The Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) provides more than $750,000 annually to the Emily Stowe Shelter for Women. Furthermore, through extensive and innovative fundraising Emily Stowe has raised over $800,000 to help realize the vision of the new shelter.

"The construction of the Emily Stowe Shelter for Women's new home demonstrates the Government of Canada's commitment to address housing and support needs for women at risk," said Scarborough Southwest Member of Parliament Tom Wappel, on behalf of the Honourable Joe Fontana, Minister of Labour and Housing. "This project is a prime example that federal support in dealing with family violence and homelessness — are helping give those most in need an opportunity to build a better and safer life for themselves and their families. I am glad to have been able to work with everyone at Emily Stowe for the past 3.5 years to achieve their objectives. This building is a visible sign of the Government of Canada's concern for the disadvantaged and vulnerable people of our society," concluded Wappel.

"The Ontario government is committed to helping women and children who are fleeing from domestic violence," said Lorenzo Berardinetti, MPP, Scarborough Southwest on behalf of Community and Social Services Minister and Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, Sandra Pupatello. "Today's investment will help to build a strong, safe community, one that protects women and children who are victims of violence."

"It's exciting to see a project such as this come together, where a community agency is working with governments and the private sector to make it happen," said Councillor Brian Ashton, Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest. "This spectacular new facility will give women fleeing violence a new home and a chance for a new beginning."

"At the Emily Stowe Shelter, we believe that all human beings have the right to live free of violence and abuse, to live a life with confidence, grace and freedom." said Dr. Roz Roach, Executive Director, visionary and champion of the new Emily Stowe Shelter. "This project couldn't have happened without the funding and support from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation."

The project has been made possible through the fundraising efforts of staff and volunteers of Emily Stowe Shelter for Women, their partners and various levels of government.

CMHC is Canada's national housing agency with a mandate to help Canadians gain access to safe, quality and affordable housing. CMHC supports the Canadian housing industry and improves the living conditions of Canadians through mortgage loan insurance and securitization, assisted housing, research and information transfer and the promotion of Canadian housing exports.

The Staff and the Board of Emily Stowe Shelter are actively involved in advocacy, community education and political action in an effort to educate the public about assaulted women's issues and bring about institutional and social reform. The Emily Stowe Shelter encourages the empowerment of women who work at and live in a shelter so that these women may challenge the structures that continue to oppress all women.

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Roz Roach
Executive Director
Emily Stowe Shelter for Women
(416) 264-0823

Kathie Howes
Communications Consultant
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
(647) 225-3730

Paul Doig
Ministry of Community and Social Services
(416) 325-5187

Cathy Whelan
Partnership Development & Support
City of Toronto
(416) 392-6104