Women’s resource centre fundraising to keep outreach van on the road

West Central Women’s Resource Centre outreach van. Global News

The West Central Women’s Resource Centre (WCWRC) runs one the only seven-day-a-week street outreach vans in Winnipeg. It’s the only one focused on women experiencing homelessness.

In the past year, the pandemic has added an extra layer of need as many women were turned away from shelters due to lowered capacity when adhering to public health guidelines.

Read more: New project in Winnipeg aims to provide tiny homes to help shelter homeless

“Every day we’re on the road, seven days a week, with the team who’s out meeting our community where they’re at since they can’t come to us,” WCWRC Executive Director Lorie English said. “So that van is on the street, providing hot meals, coffee, hygiene supplies, warm clothing as needed blankets, that sort of thing, harm reduction supplies, and the uptake on that has been enormous.”

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The women’s resource outreach team has also played a critical role in getting women off the streets and into permanent homes.

“From January to March of this year, we’ve worked with 44 women who were unsheltered and a number of those women were connected to our services by this outreach van,” English said. “We’re pretty happy to say that so far we’ve managed to permanently house 26 of those women. Six of them are still temporarily housed and we’re working to secure them permanent housing.”

Click to play video: 'Keeping homeless people in Winnipeg warm and safe' Keeping homeless people in Winnipeg warm and safe
Keeping homeless people in Winnipeg warm and safe – Feb 17, 2021

With their fiscal year ending, the team looked to the future and calculated how much funding would be required to provide another year of pandemic relief around Winnipeg.

“The original price tag on our fundraising efforts was $47,000,” English said. “We’ve been successful getting some of that money in through the door already which is great so we’re still looking for about another $38,000.

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“That will keep the van on the road for the entire year, so until March 31 of 2022, and that provides for staffing, gas, and then resources in the van, so food and hygiene and cold weather gear.”

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