Today, NDP MP for Winnipeg Centre Leah Gazan was pleased to congratulate Ka Ni Kanichihk on the new home of Velma’s House, a low-barrier, 24/7 safe space supporting women and gender diverse people within Winnipeg. Velma’s House will be opening a new safe space centre at 566 Bannatyne Avenue in Winnipeg, providing extensive programming and culturally appropriate supports to women and gender diverse people.
“This announcement is long overdue in Winnipeg Centre and answers the call from the community and from local advocates to have more critical services for women and gender diverse people in need,” said Gazan. “I’m thrilled to support Velma’s House and know how much of an impact this new centre will have in our community and for our people.”
The expansion of Velma’s House comes with over $6.9 million in federal funding, including $1 million per year for four years in funding for programming, allowing Velma’s House to provide critical and emergency services to even more women and gender diverse individuals in need. Gazan has been calling for more funding for low barrier shelters and transitional housing to address the crisis of violence against Indigenous women, girls and two spirit individuals, in accordance with Call for Justice 4.7 from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“We know that low barrier, 24/7 safe spaces are so critical for women and gender diverse individuals that otherwise would not feel safe in other shelters or support systems”, said Gazan. “Velma’s House fills a gap in services that comes without judgement, provides a critical safe space and those who have experienced gender-based violence, and is Indigenous and survivor-led. This work saves lives, and I’m so grateful to Ka Ni Kanichihk for their leadership in keeping our community safe.”