200 homes for victims of domestic violence at risk, support organizations

Organizations that help victims of domestic violence are sounding the alarm. Due to delays in funding 2 shelter projectse step, 200 places intended for women and children in situations of danger are currently in danger, they maintain.

La Dauphinelle house has a project for a 2-person accommodation housee stage, the Maison d’Évelyn, and was ready to go to tender to launch its construction work. But since it must comply with the criteria of programs intended for social housing and these are not adapted to the requirements of a shelter, the project was blocked for months, accumulating a delay of more than a year.

“La Dauphinelle finds itself at full capacity whereas if its accommodation house of 2e stage had been open, it could have without problem transferred 14 families, that is to say more than 40 people,” explained Tuesday Maud Pontel, general coordinator of the Alliance of shelters of 2e stage for women and children victims of domestic violence (Alliance MH2), during a press conference on Tuesday.

Many other projects are in danger in several regions of Quebec. However, in 2021, in the wake of a wave of feminicides, the government of Quebec committed to deploying measures to counter domestic violence with, among other things, the creation of places in shelters for 2e step, recalled Mme Pontel.

Accommodation houses 2e stage make it possible to welcome women after their visit to emergency resources. This is a critical period for these women who have decided to leave their partner permanently because attempted murders and homicides occur up to a year after the separation, recalled Maud Pontel.

Major obstacles

Except that two and a half years later, 11 projects totaling more than 200 places are facing “major” obstacles because, in the absence of a specific funding program for shelters, it is the programs intended for social housing that apply. . Their standards are, however, restrictive and poorly suited to shelters. Mired in administrative mazes, organizations find themselves with “exorbitant” costs to assume every week – for insurance, building maintenance and mortgage – while waiting for the green light for government funding, underlined Mme Pontel.

In the case of the Dauphinelle, the Maison d’Évelyn project comes up against the program’s requirement regarding the cost per door. However, shelters for abused women need intervention spaces and a community kitchen, which increases the cost per door and prevents funding from being authorized. “What we had to do to unblock the project was to make a commitment to inject $2.6 million ourselves. It’s huge,” explains the general director of La Dauphinelle, Sabrina Lemeltier.

It would be inconceivable to reduce the services given to women to pay a mortgage, argues Mélanie Miranda, housing coordinator for the MH2 Alliance. But the fundraising campaigns on which organizations are already banking have their limits.

Relaxations requested

The Group of houses for women victims of domestic violence and SOS domestic violence have given their support to the demands of the MH2 Alliance. “The current blockages of shelters of 2e step have a domino effect on the entire chain of services offered to women victims of domestic violence,” said Louise Riendeau, co-responsible for political issues at the Regroupement des maison pour femmes victims de violence conjugal.

For her part, Claudine Thibaudeau, head of clinical support and training for SOS domestic violence, indicated that in the last five years, her organization had seen the number of requests for help double, reaching 50,000 requests last year. aid, including 13,000 for accommodation. “We should always be able to say yes when someone asks to leave a violent situation. »

The MH2 Alliance wants relaxations in the current financing programs in order to resolve the impasses. She also calls for a program that is specific to shelters in order to remove the various obstacles that the organizations face.

“We understand that houses of 2e step are not social housing,” said Justine Vézina, press secretary to the Minister responsible for Housing, France-Élaine Duranceau, in an email. “The Société d’habitation du Québec also meets with the MH2 Alliance every two weeks in order to resolve the irritants of the projects in development. It is important for us to meet the needs of organizations with more flexibility and agility. »

Since October 2018, she added, 746 units for women victims of violence have been built or started.

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