The South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS) will be receiving some much-needed funding over the next two years.
Federal Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Carolyn Bennett, made the announcement in Penticton, B.C., on Friday.
“We received just over $300,000 dollars from Health Canada,” said SOWINS acting executive director Liz Gomes.
“We’re really excited, our staff especially the ones particularly on our mobile outreach van. They’re out there and they see the need for these individuals that they are supporting. We hear everyday people are dying and so if we can get them the lifesaving supplies to keep them alive until they are able to get to treatment or until they are able to get the support that they need, it’s necessary.”
SOWINS is part of a trio of community-led projects across the province that will share more than $3 million in funding.
The society will get $341,332 over 26 months that will go towards hiring a part-time substance use counsellor and will go towards expanding their outreach program.
“We currently are able to have our van out in the South Okanagan two days a week. This funding will enable us to have our van out hopefully up to five days a week. Our mobile van reaches out to those struggling with substance use and provides lifesaving supplies for them,” said Gomes.
“That counsellor will work directly with residents in our transition house. They will support them with harm reduction, information, and support as well as helping our staff better learn how to engage with our clients and support them as well.”
Gomes went on to say that although this is a large amount of funding, the society is currently fundraising for its second stage program.
“Second stage means that women and their children can stay in subsidized housing for up to six months or a year and really receive the one-on-one long-term support that they need to move towards helping the lives of themselves,” said Gomes.