Transitional beds for Snuneymuxw to help with 'stark reality' of women fleeing violence

By Spencer Sterritt
December 7, 2018 - 3:23pm

Elder Lolly Good leading everyone in an opening song at the Snuneymuxw Community Building on Friday, Dec. 7.Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — It's hoped new transitional housing for Snuneymuxw First Nation will help women and families take the first steps away from abusive relationships.

A house is currently being renovated to allow for 10 transitional beds to be opened by early 2019. The house will be staffed 24/7 and operated by the Snuneymuxw Youth and Family Society to offer culturally appropriate supports.

The project was celebrated by SFN and community partners on Friday, Dec. 7 to acknowledge the ongoing 16 Days of Activism initiative against gendered violence.

Snuneymuxw First Nation councillor Erralyn Thomas said women and families fleeing violence and abusive relationships is a “stark reality” in their community.

“Not having a lot of land really limits our ability to provide these resources to the community,” she said. “Partnerships like this allow us to fills gaps in service we see and grow a healthy community.”

The beds are funded through the province as part of a larger $734 million initiative over the next decade.

Parliamentary secretary for gender equity Mitzi Dean spoke to SFN delegates on Friday and said these beds will offer an initial point of safety for those in desperate need.

“When women make the decision to leave, they actually need to be able to get access to a safe and secure refuge. Somewhere they can stay safely and take their kids, so their kids can actually sleep safely at night.”

Women and families will be able to stay at the house for 30 days. In that time, it's hoped they'd be able to find someone new to stay which is just as safe and continue their journey towards secure housing.

 

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