Mayoral candidates speak out about housing shortage
In advance of the October 24 municipal election, YWCA Regina posed the following question to all nine mayoral candidates:
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in June 2012, the city’s vacancy rate sits at 0.60 per cent. That’s 0.10 per cent lower than last year’s 0.70 per cent. CMHC suggests that the optimum vacancy rate for rental property is 3%. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Regina is about $948.
If you are elected, what actions will you propose to respond to the affordable housing shortage?
Responses were received from six candidates, as follows, in alphabetical order by surname. (Click on each candidate’s name to read the full response.)
Umbrella and rain boot sales benefit Isabel Johnson Shelter
The 8th annual Shelter from the Storm campaign, coordinated by the Canadian Women's Foundation, raised a national total of $2.1 million this year, up from last year's $1.7 million. Half of the proceeds are divided amongst about 450 shelters for abused women across Canada, including YWCA Regina's Isabel Johnson Shelter.
The funds were raised through sales of Shelter from the Storm t-shirts, umbrellas, rain boots, bags, decals, and other items at Winners/HomeSense, and through individual donations on-line. Rogers Media is also a campaign partner.
The other half of campaign proceeds supports violence prevention programs funded by the Canadian Women's Foundation.
For more information, or to make a donation, visit www.shelterfromthestorm.ca.
Camp offers children an “urban adventure”
At six separate 3-day camps held in July and August, 120 6 to 17-year-old girls and boys had a chance to assess first hand whether Urban Adventure Camp would live up to its name. And they weren’t disappointed!
Camp adventures included dragon boating, kayaking, rock climbing, watching movies in Victoria Park, camping overnight on Willow Island—and much more.
Urban Adventure Camp, launched several years ago as a separate entity, was operated this year by YWCA Regina. The camp offers a safe, inclusive, caring camp environment to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to go camping.
With more than 75% of the campers of Aboriginal or visible minority backgrounds, the cultural components of the camps were especially valued—including the involvement of Elders, totem pole building, and a partnership with Regina Open Door Society to serve children from families of new Canadians.
A special thanks to our team of about twenty volunteers, to St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church for the generous donation of their facilities, to the Community Initiatives Fund for a grant, and to the financial and in-kind donors who made Urban Adventure Camp possible this year.
Major rooftop improvements over the summer months
Like others in middle age, the 40-plus-year-old YWCA Regina is at times in need of some TLC. This summer’s major project included re-roofing the main residence tower, and installing a badly-needed new rooftop heating/ventilation/air-conditioning unit.
As a result, residents on the third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors will be warmer this winter, cooler next summer—and dry and well-ventilated year round.
The project's most dramatic moments came when the 9,000 pound HVAC unit was lifted by crane on the evening of August 15.
The project is being supervised by Gilbert Complaisance, Director of Building and Property, and it is expected to be completed in approximately three weeks at a cost of about $245,000.
(Photos courtesy of Marshall Plumbing and Heating)
Casino Regina fundraiser raises $82,904 for My Aunt's Place
The legendary excitement and energy of Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival transformed the Casino Regina Show Lounge at the Second Annual Casino Regina Charity Royale—A Black Tie Benefit, held on Saturday, June 9, 2012.
Revenues from this lavish event were designated for My Aunt’s Place, YWCA Regina’s shelter for homeless women and their children.
"The incredible support of Sask Gaming and Charity Royale sponsors has created an opportunity for us to make a long term investment in supporting the homeless women and children who turn to My Aunt’s Place,” YWCA Executive Director Deanna Elias-Henry said. “This money will be invested in making the environment for these families healthy and safe. That includes providing emergency housing—but also working with women toward long-term housing solutions.”
Opened in 2009 in response to critical housing shortages, My Aunt’s Place provides emergency shelter and works with clients and landlords to secure appropriate housing. Accommodating 22 residents nightly, My Aunt’s Place consistently operates close to 100% capacity.
Billed as the premiere charity event of the year, Charity Royale featured dazzling Carnival-themed entertainment, a five-star menu and high-end items on the auction block. The door prize was a trip for two to Rio valued at $5,000.
Parker Place provides care for harder-to-place children
In partnership with the Ministry of Social Services, YWCA Regina opened an additional emergency receiving facility in the spring of 2012—supplementing Kids in Transition Shelter (KITS), which opened in 2009. A residence in northwest Regina was purchased to accommodate the program expansion.
Both KITS, with a capacity for 10 residents, and the new facility, with a capacity for 4, house children who have been removed from their homes by Social Services staff and are in transition to suitable, longer-term homes.
The new facility, named for long-time YWCA Regina supporter Anne Parker, will accommodate children who for a variety of reasons are harder to place in permanent homes, and therefore need transitional housing for a longer time period.
Shelter staff educate RCMP cadets about intimate partner violence
Since 1995, staff from the YWCA Isabel Johnson Shelter and other Regina shelters have conducted training sessions with RCMP cadets about intimate partner violence, and the role shelters play in reducing the impact of violence.
The sessions are typically about two hours in length, and involve 40-50 recruits. Topics covered include provincial and national statistics about domestic violence, relevant legislation and legal processes, the cycle of violence, types of abuse, and available resources. One of the recurring questions cadets ask is why women stay in abusive relationships.
“The goal is to have the cadets achieve an understanding of the patterns involved in abusive relationships,” says Kerri Hill, Children’s Resource Worker at Isabel Johnson Shelter. Kerri was impressed at how engaged the cadets were at a recent presentation. “They asked tons of questions—questions about abuse, and about how shelters do their work.”
YWCA residents benefit from REACH mobile grocery store
The Community ‘R’ Mobile Store program of Regina Education and Action on Child Hunger (REACH) now comes to YWCA Regina—and provides a convenient way for YWCA residents to access healthy food.
Every Tuesday afternoon, with the volunteer assistance of clients of YWCA’s Kikinaw Residence, the mobile grocery store sells fruit, vegetables, meat, breads and dairy products at the McIntyre Street location. And while the store is open to anyone, YWCA residents and clients especially benefit.
“We’re very pleased to be part of the REACH program,” Executive Director Deanna Elias-Henry says. “Transportation to grocery stores is a barrier for many of our clients, so this definitely fills a need.”