Government of Canada announces $8.4 million in funding for Ka Ni Kanichihk, Velma's House, and other Indigenous women's organizations in Manitoba
October 17, 2022 – Winnipeg, Traditional Treaty 1 Territory, Manitoba – Indigenous Services Canada and Women and Gender Equality Canada
Shelters provide protection, services and resources that enable women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people who have experienced gender-based violence, including intimate partner violence and exploitation, to have a safe space to turn and take steps to regain an independent and self-determined life.
Supporting Indigenous-led 24/7 safe spaces, emergency shelters, and transition homes is an important part of the Government of Canada's Federal Pathway to Address Violence Against Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People.
In Winnipeg, Velma's House, operated by Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc., was created through the collaboration of community-based organizations serving adult Indigenous women, gender-diverse people, and other women at risk of violence and exploitation, including those who have been trafficked.
Velma's House provides important services, including access to traditional medicines and cultural ways of healing, hot meals, hygiene and harm reduction supplies, as well as extensive support in helping those in need navigate systems of employment and housing. Due to an increase in operational hours and support, Velma's House has outgrown its old space and requires an expansion to accommodate more people in need of its services.
Today, the Government of Canada announced over $6.9 million in immediate and ongoing funding that will support Ka Ni Kanichihk and Velma's House, as well as $1.53 million for Indigenous women's organizations in Manitoba. The announcement was made in Treaty 1 Territory (Winnipeg) by the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services; the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth; and the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister for PrairiesCan, Minister for CanNor and Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface—Saint Vital.
These investments will allow Velma's House to expand its capacity to provide life-saving shelter services to those in need on a 24/7 basis, and is part of the Government of Canada's larger commitment to address the critical need for culturally appropriate Indigenous safe spaces in cities and urban settings across the country.
These investments include:
- $930,000 through the Women's Program at Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) to provide emergency relief funding to support immediate organizational needs and increase capacity. This funding is in addition to over $1.4 million that WAGE has provided Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc. since 2015.
- $2 million through Indigenous Services Canada's (ISC) Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund, which will enable Ka Ni Kanichihk to purchase a new building for Velma's House, allowing for expanded capacity and care of up to 40 people at a time.
- $1 million per year through to 2025–26, totalling $4 million, delivered through ISC's Pathways to Safe Indigenous Communities Initiative to support operational expenses and furnishing costs.
Through Women and Gender Equality Canada, $1.53 million will be invested in three Indigenous women's organizations in Manitoba:
- $499,154 will support the work of Infinity Women Secretariat Inc. to increase the organization's capacity to address gender-based violence issues more effectively in the Métis community in Manitoba.
- $500,000 will support 2-Spirited Peoples of Manitoba to increase the capacity of 2Spirit Manitoba Inc. to prevent and address gender-based violence against Indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
- An additional $533,118 for Ka Ni Kanichihk to strengthen their capacity to prevent gender-based violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people through the improvement of partnerships, sharing of information and the development of skill-based tools.
"Today speaks to the power of collaboration and of community-led efforts. Credit for establishing Velma's House goes to those with lived experience who fought so hard to establish this safe space. Thank you to the federal government for listening to the community and supporting their expertise, their knowledge and their solution."
Yvonne (Dodie) Jordaan
Executive Director of Ka Ni Kanichihk
"Velma's House is the ONLY 24/7 safe place in the province of Manitoba that supports sexually exploited adult women, the ONLY PLACE. With continued funding we can ensure our women will always have a low/barrier safe space. With supports and resources to help to support them wherever they are at in their journey."
Advocate for sexually exploited persons
Survivor of gender-based violence
"Everyone in the community is excited to finally have an adequate building to support the women who access Velma's House 24/7. The women who come here are strong and their lives need to be valued. The new safe space will provide them with more access to culture, programming, resources, and safety. It will allow them to have the supports and guidance that are needed as they walk the red road to healing. It will simply save lives."
Velma's House Staff
Former Lived Experience Advisory Committee Member
"Velma's House and Ka Ni Kanichihk provide essential services and a safe space for Indigenous women in Winnipeg. Their work is critical, saves lives and protects the next generation of children. But their services have been stretched and they will be able to do so much more with more space and stable funding. With new investments of just over $8.4 million announced today by the Federal Government, Velma's House, Ka Ni Kanichihk, and other Indigenous women's organizations in Manitoba will be able to keep doing their work, increase their capacity and deliver culturally appropriate programs and services to those who need it most. As a former Executive Director of a homeless shelter myself, I know how important and how difficult this work can be. I commend Executive Director Dodie Jordaan and the Velma's House team for their advocacy and vision to expand their services and continue to serve the most vulnerable women in the community."
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
"We know that Velma's House is a lifeline for women fleeing domestic and street violence, providing a wide range of culturally safe supports and essential services. I'm pleased to announce that Women and Gender Equality Canada provided $930,000 to keep their doors open 24/7 and, ultimately, save more lives. I'm also pleased to announce that $1.53 million will be invested in three Indigenous women's organizations in Manitoba to provide long-term support to organizations that are doing the crucial work on the ground. Organizations like these have been at the forefront of efforts to address and prevent gender-based violence, particularly in underserved communities. Our government is committed to continuing our support for this essential work."
The Honourable Marci Ien
Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth
"Together with community leaders and organizations, we are taking important steps forward in expanding access for Indigenous women and children in need of critical services, safety and support, right here in the heart of Winnipeg. Velma's House is an integral part of our community and a positive and safe space that so many continue to devote their passion and lives to creating and growing. To all the workers, supporters and advocates of Velma's House, I thank you for the essential work you are doing to provide for, and serve, those who need it most."
The Honourable Daniel Vandal P.C., M.P.
Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for CanNor, Minister responsible for PrairiesCan and Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface—Saint Vital
Velma's House, operated by Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc., is a low-barrier safe space for women and gender-diverse people over 18 years of age. It is a culturally Indigenous safe space in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that offers a wide variety of essential supports and services.
The Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund supports and invests in the immediate infrastructure needs of Indigenous communities for ongoing, new and shovel-ready projects. The Pathways to Safe Indigenous Communities Initiative aims to fund services that contribute to the safety and well-being of Indigenous Peoples, families and communities through community services that are developed and implemented through an Indigenous lens.
Since 2015, WAGE has provided $232.8 million to initiatives that aim to end gender-based violence, and $152.8 million to initiatives that support Indigenous women and girls.
Since April 2020, approximately $300 million in emergency COVID-19 funding has been committed to organizations supporting individuals experiencing gender-based violence. This includes:
- Over $235 million provided to date to over 1,400 women's shelters, sexual assault centres, and other organizations, including 138 organizations that serve Indigenous individuals.
- This funding has helped ensure the continuity of services throughout the pandemic and is enhancing the capacity and responsiveness of gender-based violence organizations.
- Because of this funding, over 1.3 million individuals experiencing violence have had a place to go and access to supports during the pandemic.
In 2021–22, the Federal Pathway provided funding under the Support for the Wellbeing of Families and Survivors of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People Contribution Program for a pilot project to expand operations of Velma's House to include overnights and weekends.
In 2022–23, Ka Ni Kanichihk received $1.8 million, under the Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples funding stream, to support the construction of the Ka Ni Kanichihk Cultural Wellness Centre to increase access to wellness, education and training programs.
- Ka Ni Kanichihk Cultural and Wellness Centre expansion to receive $1.8 million investment from Indigenous Services Canada - Canada.ca
- Government of Canada investing in youth and families in Winnipeg - Canada.ca
- Velma's House: 24/7 Safe Space | Ka Ni Kanichihk
- Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund
- Pathways to Safe Indigenous Communities Initiative (sac-isc.gc.ca)
- Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples (sac-isc.gc.ca)
- Family Violence Prevention Program (sac-isc.gc.ca)
- MMIWG (2SLGBTQQIA+) people Urban National Action Plan
- Women and Gender Equality Canada
- Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada
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