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Pauktuutit calls on feds to 'urgently provide' $20M for Inuit women and children fleeing violence

Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada is calling on the federal government to provide $20 million in its next budget for transitional housing and shelters in Inuit Nunangat and Ottawa for Inuit women and children fleeing violence.

Approximately 15 shelters serve 51 communities across the Inuit homeland, organization says

Pauktuutit Women of Canada president Rebecca Kudloo says the need for more shelters across Inuit Nunangat is 'a matter of life and death.' (Tania Budgell)

Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada is calling on the federal government to provide $20 million in its next budget for transitional housing and shelters in Inuit Nunangat and Ottawa for Inuit women and children fleeing violence, drawing attention to the lack of safe shelters in communities across the Inuit homeland.

In a news release Tuesday, the organization, which represents Inuit women across Canada, says the money must be provided "urgently," and that it is "essential for the safety and security of Inuit women and children."

A motion was unanimously passed at Pauktuutit's annual general meeting last week supporting the request for funding.

In the release, Pauktuutit points out that over 70 per cent of Inuit communities currently lack safe shelters, leaving approximately 15 shelters to serve 51 communities in Inuit Nunangat. Inuit women are also 14 times more likely to become victims of violence than other women in Canada, according to Pauktuutit.

"Ironically, Inuit communities are not eligible to access federal funding for shelters through Indigenous Services Canada's Family Violence Prevention Program," the release states.

During its meeting, Pauktuutit discussed the need for more shelters with several cabinet ministers, including Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal and Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller, "all whom showed openness to the request," the release reads.

"We are hopeful that the federal government will recognize the urgent need for this infrastructure and respond favorably to our ask," Pauktuutit president Rebecca Kudloo is quoted as saying. "It is actually a matter of life and death."

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