$550,000 granted to Sault Ste. Marie for affordable housing

·2 min read

On Friday, it was announced that $550,000 will be provided to Sault Ste Marie by the Ontario Government and Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services.

These funds will help create affordable housing for Indigenous women and children. They are aimed at supporting women fleeing domestic violence, women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness during COVID.

According to Statistics Canada, Indigenous women are over 3 times more likely to be a victim of domestic violence then non-Indigenous women.

Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services is using the funding to purchase four three-bedroom houses, which will serve as single-family homes. These homes are in close proximity to schools, parks and nearby public transit.

"It is critically important to ensure Indigenous women and their children fleeing domestic violence have access to safe housing," said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. "In order to contain the spread of COVID-19 and the new variants, we need to provide vulnerable people immediate access to housing so they can stay home, stay safe, and save lives."

Domestic violence has increased significantly during COVID, as many are stuck isolating in unsafe situations. This makes it difficult to get away from the abuser when your reasons to leave the house are few and far between.

According to the United Nations, projections show that for every three months a lockdown continues, an additional 15 million women are expected to be affected by violence.

This grant is only a starting point for the City of Sault Ste. Marie when addressing domestic violence in the pandemic.

Additional resources for domestic violence in Algoma:Children's Aid Society of AlgomaSexual Assault Care CentreNimkii Naabkawagan Family Crisis ShelterNogdawindamin Family and Community ServicesWomen in Crisis

Josie Fiegehen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, SaultOnline.com