The GNWT has committed to providing 25 per cent of the funding to build a new shelter for women and children in Hay River.

Robert C. McLeod: Finance minister commits 25 per cent of funding to build new women’s and children’s shelter in Hay River. NNSL file photo

Hay River North MLA R.J. Simpson raised the issue in the territorial legislature on Sept. 27, asking Finance Minister Robert C. McLeod if the GNWT could provide a quarter of the cost so the shelter – known as the Family Support Centre – could approach the federal government for the remaining 75 per cent.

McLeod said he understands the GNWT is exploring some of the federal funding pots and trying to get some of the criteria to see if the project would fit under any one of those programs.

“I believe it does, but I will confirm that,” he said.

McLeod said, if the project does fit into a cost-shared program, the GNWT would be willing to put in 25 per cent.

Simpson welcomed the commitment.

“I appreciate that. Hay River appreciates that,” he said. “That is a big commitment on the part of the government.”

McLeod said there is no solid guideline of when there might by information on possible funding from the federal government.

“We have opportunities to meet with our federal colleagues and we will continue to raise the issue,” he said.

The minister added the project would probably fit under one of the federal government funding pots.

Simpson explained the Family Support Centre provides shelter and assistance to women and children escaping family violence.

The building where the centre had been located until recently is slated for demolition.

The shelter has moved into a temporary site provided by the Town of Hay River, but that location provides a third fewer beds than the vacated building.

Simpson said the centre is in limbo.

“They are in a temporary site. They need a new facility. They have been doing a lot of work themselves,” he said. “They are getting a plan together. They are raising funds, and essentially what they need is a 25 per cent contribution coming from their own fundraising from the GNWT, whoever it might be, and they need that so that they can approach the feds and get the other 75 per cent of the contribution.”

The Hay River MLA said the centre is hoping to move forward with a facility by the spring.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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