Since December 2013, the Yukon Status of Women Council and the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre have been running a program for Whitehorse women called A Safe Place. The program provides a low-barrier, supportive drop-in space for women and children on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. A hot, nutritious meal is included, and the activities are led by the wishes of the participants themselves. Two facilitators who have training in counselling are present each night and can provide both one-on-one and group support if that is what the women want.
The program fills an important gap in services for women who need a place to feel safe, get a hot meal, warm up, or simply spend time in the company of other women. The program came out of the findings of the Yukon Status of Women Council’s Repairing the Holes in the Net research project, which identified evening drop-ins with a hot meal for women and children-only as a gap in services. The low-barrier nature of the program allows women to come at any point that they feel they need to, rather than expecting that they be in a particular kind of frame of mind – provided that they are not a risk to themselves or others. If the women have other needs that cannot be filled by the A Safe Place facilitators, they are referred to other services around the city.
A Safe Place has been able to operate thanks to the support of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Women’s Directorate, the United Way, crowd sourcing, and recently the Prevention of violence Against Aboriginal Women fund and the Yukon Women's Directorate. Women who attend really value the program and say there is nothing to take its place.
Donations of food, coffee/tea, supplies for personal care and activities, and hygiene products such as toilet paper, soap, tampons and pads are always welcome. If you have ideas to share about possible long-term funding sources for this program, please get in touch with Hillary at the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre, 667-2693.Donations can be dropped off or mailed to VFWC, 503 Hanson St., Whitehorse, YT, Y1A 1Y9. A charitable receipt can be issued for amounts over $20.00.