Morinville emergency shelter gets one-time $1.1M grant from province

·2 min read
Lynne Rosychuk, Jessica Martel's mother, hopes Jessie's House will give families fleeing domestic violence a safe place to turn to. (Kory Siegers/CBC - image credit)
Lynne Rosychuk, Jessica Martel's mother, hopes Jessie's House will give families fleeing domestic violence a safe place to turn to. (Kory Siegers/CBC - image credit)

A year-old emergency shelter in Morinville is getting a one-time $1.1 million grant from the Alberta government.

Marla Welk, executive director of Jessie's House, said the funding will help the shelter provide services for individuals and families in crisis in the Morinville-Sturgeon County area.

"It's not just about the 35 beds that we have in the shelter," she said. "It's about all of the programs and services that we offer."

Those services include a crisis line, outreach programs, safety planning, danger assessments and support finding housing and employment.

Jessie's House is named after Jessica Martel, a Morinville woman who was murdered by her common-law husband in 2009. The 35-bed shelter opened in May 2020 after a decade-long fundraising campaign by her family.

Lynne Rosychuk, Martel's mother and founder of Jessie's House, said while her daughter was still alive, they spoke often about the need for an emergency shelter in the Morinville area.

She said her daughter tried getting into shelters in Edmonton but they were too full to take her.

"Unfortunately, she was not one of the lucky ones to be able to get to a place like Jessie's House and to be able to provide this for other families means a lot to our family," Rosychuk said.

St. Albert NDP MLA Marie Renaud, opposition critic for community and social services, said she is relieved the government is stepping in with funding, but worries about what happens after this year is over.

"I am, however, disappointed that this is a one-time grant, which does not provide long term and stable operational funding for this critical service," Renaud said in a news release.

"I worry this is not enough funding to serve women and families in rural Alberta... I hope to see permanent and stable operational funding for Jessie's House in next year's budget."

Community and Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney said her government plans to keep talking with Jessie's House about ongoing operational needs.

"As we move forward and as we're putting our budgets together we'll make sure that this relationship and this dialogue is ongoing to determine what the needs are going to be in the future," she said.

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