West Central Women's Resource Centre calls for donations after flooding
Water damage putting HOMES program at risk of closing
The West Central Women's Resource Centre is worried it may have to end a long-running program that helps Winnipeg women find housing and income support after foundation issues leave their West End offices flooded after every rain.
Denise MacDonald, director of communications and fundraising with the not-for-profit, says the centre is scrambling to come up with the $25,000 needed to make the repairs.
"When the snow started to melt, that's when we started to notice the water coming in," she said of the flooding that's already left the WCWRC's HOMES program office soaked with water several times this spring.
"It's damaging the wall and the carpet and there's a risk of mould and there's a risk of having to close the office if it keeps happening."
The WCWRC is applying for grants to help cover the cost, but MacDonald says they're not sure that they'll get the money they need in time.
So far they've been using an industrial fan to dry the offices after it rains, but MacDonald worries mould will start to set in if the problem isn't fixed in the next couple of months.
And because the centre's offices are already at capacity, MacDonald says they don't have anywhere else to move the HOMES program's staff if the foundation isn't repaired.
"We have to fix it and we have to fix it fast," she said.
Call for donations
The centre is making a public plea for financial donations to get the work done.
Donations can be made through the WCWRC's website or mailed directly to the centre at 640 Ellice Avenue.
"We will do the best we can to fill the gaps with grant money, but we're predicting quite a significant shortfall," said MacDonald.
"That's where the community comes in to help shore up the rest."
The HOMES program was the first program the centre offered when it was founded in 1999.
Programming at the centre has since expanded to include a drop-in program offering meals, showers, laundry and internet, Indigenous programming, child-minding and mentorship programs providing skills-building and training.
But MacDonald says providing safe housing is among the most important aspects of the centre's work.
"What we see often with women in homelessness is that they end up couch-surfing, sometimes in unsafe situations or end up being exploited when they're out in the streets," she said.
"So it's not only a matter of having a nice place to live — it's a matter of safety."
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With files from Aidan Geary