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Ontario's Rural Realities Fund: Successful Projects

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Ontario's Rural Realities Fund: Successful Projects

Ontario is investing more than $1 million in 16 projects through the Rural Realities Fund to support Violence Against Women agencies and shelters in rural, remote and Northern communities, including:

Bernadette McCann House for Women is receiving $8,000 to identify available services and gaps in services available to Renfrew County women and their children. The Renfrew County Mapping project will collect information from service providers and users. It will explore other services in rural areas and their strategies to address domestic violence in their communities. A summary report will identify opportunities for collaboration.

Central Family Transition Place will pilot a Rural Mobile Intake project for Dufferin County, Shelbourne and Grand Valley with $104,000 over two years. The project will hire a Rural Mobile Intake Counselor and navigator to go to women who may be unable to come to the agency for service. The agency will partner with townships to access available space, provide information sessions, meet with women requiring service and to provide counseling or connect women to other community service providers. The project will also use video conferencing, e-counseling and text correspondence to improve access to services.

Centre Passerelle pour femmes du Nord Ontario in Cochrane is pursuing a Rompre l'isolement des femmes ainées francophones (Breaking the Isolation of French-Speaking Senior Women) with the help of a two-year, $68,000 grant. This project uses a 'train the trainer' model for French language support groups to help break the isolation of French-speaking senior women. Centre Passerelle pour femmes du Nord Ontario will work with Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes and other northern and rural partners to create an advisory committee, develop research activities and share best practices.

Crisis Homes Inc. is developing its Bridging Northern Shelters to Enhance Services project in the Kenora, Thunder Bay, Dryden, Marathon and Sioux Lookout areas with the support of a $134,000, two-year grant. The project will use video conferencing to increase access to services for abused women and children in Northern and remote areas, and to enable women and children in shelters to maintain the connection to home, their community and Elders.

The First Step Women's Shelter is pursuing a First Nation Community Liaison Project in Red Lake and Sioux Lookout with $156,000 over two years. This project will enable staff from First Step and from the New Starts for Women agency to travel to Northern remote communities to provide education and training on Violence Against Women. This will help raise awareness of services, build partnerships and promote a better understanding of the local communities they are trying to help.

Haldimand Norfolk Women's Services will start a new project entitled Supporting Rural Women Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence: Exploring Strategies and Best Practices with a $16,500 grant. This research project will gather information on strategies rural shelters have used to support the safety and health needs of women who have experienced abuse. It will explore models of service delivery and innovative approaches through focus groups and interviews with rural shelter staff and with women who have accessed support from a rural shelter located in different communities to recommend best practices and innovative rural service strategies.

Leeds and Grenville Interval House will pursue a Leeds and Grenville Mobile Hub project with the help of $121,000 over two years. This pilot project will create a mobile hub of services to support women or their children. The mobile team will include outreach support workers and a child witness worker. The mobile hub will offer services to clients living in remote communities or with little or no means of transportation to access services in Brockville.

Maison Interlude House is receiving $40,000 over two years to work with agencies and coalitions in Prescott-Russell County to develop a coordinated approach to mitigate rural service transportation challenges. The Transport Collectif project will identify, coordinate and pool resources, training and policies to leverage existing transportation services.

The Nijikiwendidaa Anishnaabekewewag Services Circle in Durham Region is receiving $63,000 this year to enhance front-line service delivery to Indigenous women and children in remote and rural areas through better linkages between Violence Against Women Indigenous services and community partners. This project will result in better collaboration between Violence Against Women agencies and the Indigenous community to expand access to culturally responsive services in rural and remote areas.

North Manitoulin Family Resources is developing a Community Connection project with the help of $52,000 over two years. A significant barrier to women going to shelters is a lack of transportation on Manitoulin Island. This is a barrier to women and their children maintaining relationships with their home communities, including healthcare providers or schools. This project will connect social service and community agency partners and volunteers to help these families maintain access in their communities.

Perth County Transitional Home for Women Inc. (Optimism Place women's shelter) is receiving $81,888 over two years to develop its North Perth Rural Realities project serving Stratford and North Perth. The project will hire a worker for the North Perth Advisory Committee to investigate a new model for immediate crisis response, counseling, legal advocacy, referrals and access to a safe bed. The project fills gaps to target groups that have been difficult to engage in the past.

The Three Oaks Foundation in Belleville is receiving $57,000 under Rural Realities for a 'train the trainer' program with women who have experienced violence. Women will develop the necessary skills to facilitate support groups in their own rural communities to help to reduce isolation of women. This project will not replace professional services, but will help to expand the network of support available in rural areas.

Women's Place St. Catharines will implement a Rural Education and Outreach program in Niagara Region with the help of a $46,000, two-year grant. The project will identify routine locations attended by women in their catchment area (health care, spiritual and community centres, libraries, schools, etc.). In addition, it will provide training for related rural community professionals to help them recognize the signs of intimate partner violence, raise awareness of resources and referral processes. This program will also address the unique needs of rural women in accessing crisis support and planning for safety.

Women's Resource of Kawartha Lakes is receiving $60,000 over two years to develop a hub model to provide information and service for women in rural areas. The Bridges of Kawartha Lakes will link services in Lindsay with outlying communities, and a co-located service centre will be established with a minimum of three satellite locations. Access will also be available through telephone, Skype, video conferencing and email.

Women's Rural Resource Centre Strathroy & Area will develop a Collaborative Situation Table for rural Middlesex County with the help of a $58,000, two-year grant. The project will work with Strathroy-Caradoc Police Services and the Ontario Provincial Police, mental health and addictions, child protection services, health, education, victim services and First Nations. The project will help bridge gaps between services, increase coordination and access, build capacity to screen for and identify Violence Against Women and connect victims to appropriate services.

The YWCA Peterborough Haliburton is receiving $94,500 over two years to pursue their Rural Realities of Serving Abused Women in Haliburton project to improve their outreach to rural women who have limited access to transportation. They will also hire a consultant to complete a sustainability study and a plan for VAW shelter and counselling work in Haliburton, which could result in revisions to the agency's service model.

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