Velma’s House welcomes and values people just as they are, without judgment or assumptions.
The 24/7 Safe Space, “Velma’s House”, is an initiative led by Ka Ni Kanichihk and delivered in collaboration with the 24/7 Safe Space Planning Committee (or the Lived Experience Advisory Committee of Survivors), consisting of: the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Manitoba Coalition of Families, the Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre, the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, End Homelessness Winnipeg, and the West Central Women’s Resource Centre. The space is named in honor of Velma Orvis, who worked closely with the community until her passing in 2020. It is our hope that the space embodies the unconditional love Velma showed to everyone she met.
This Safe Space is open to women aged 18+, and members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community who identify as female. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It is a place of safety, comfort and connection for those experiencing homelessness, violence or exploitation. Here, women have access to basic needs such as meals, a safe place to rest, hygiene supplies, and laundry and shower facilities. Women are also offered extensive services, such as employment counselling, housing support, and assistance navigating the health care system. There is also an Elder onsite and access to traditional medicines, ceremony, and cultural ways of healing. The diverse staff team works from a trauma-informed, harm reduction approach that recognizes women as experts in their own lives.