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COVID-19: WIN House launches relief fund to help clients during pandemic

Edmonton Journal logo Edmonton Journal 2020-04-04 Anna Junker
a woman holding a microphone: Tess Gordey, WIN House executive director. © IAN KUCERAK Tess Gordey, WIN House executive director.
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An Edmonton women’s shelter is launching a relief fund in order to help clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Women in Need (WIN) House has had to cancel a number of fundraising initiatives due to the pandemic, leaving the shelter with a $1.25 million gap in funding. By launching the COVID-19 Relief Fund, WIN House is hoping to ensure any extra or unforeseen costs due to the pandemic can be covered.

“The funds that we’re normally looking for are the same funds and needs that we have during COVID, only they’re heightened,” said Tess Gordey, executive director of WIN House.

“So we are, in the wake of COVID-19, still at full capacity, still functioning, still considered an essential service.”

WIN House has three homes and a total capacity of 71 beds for women and children fleeing domestic violence. Some of the beds are specifically for immigrant, refugee and human trafficked women. Gordey said they hope to expand their outreach during the pandemic and place women and children in other safe houses.

“We know that clients will, in the environment of COVID, even be more isolated, even be more at risk, even be more vulnerable overall,” Gordey said.

“Worst case scenario, we would have to limit the number of people, perhaps not to fill all our beds, perhaps not help as many outreach families that we otherwise would.”

Gordey said they have heard from various cities and shelters across the province that calls are increasing to their crisis lines.

“At WIN House, they’re not doing that significantly, that can change any day of the week. But I do understand that Edmonton Police Services is receiving more calls … there is increased risk. There are increased vulnerabilities and probably more families that are going to need help.”

In the wake of the pandemic, the shelter is no longer to accept donations of in-kind items they rely on to provide to clients. This includes no longer being able to take in clothing, hygiene products and baby items. The fund will help supply those items in the long term.

“(We’re) putting the call out there, as other shelters are likely going to be as well. And again, understanding that not everyone can give but for those of you who can, we are still operating and we can still use your support.”

In order to make a financial donation, visit WIN House’s website at .

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