For immediate release:
October 17, 2022
Velma’s House Receives $6.9 Million in Funding from the Federal Government for Winnipeg’s Only 24/7 Safe Space for Women
TREATY ONE TERRITORY / WINNIPEG — Ka Ni Kanichihk is pleased to receive $6.9 million in funding from the federal government (ISC) to expand Velma’s House – Winnipeg’s only low barrier 24/7 safe space for women and people who are gender-diverse.
Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, along with the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, 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.
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. The space is named in honour of Velma Orvis, who worked closely with the community until her passing in 2020.
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.
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.
“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.”
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, while addressing their immediate needs. Today we build on this investment, to make sure Velma’s House can continue providing shelter for more women, 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, and Minister responsible for PrairiesCan
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