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Women’s shelter coming to North Durham in 2022

COURTNEY McCLURE, for The Standard

NORTH DURHAM: The Cedar Haven Women’s Centre will be the first women’s shelter in North Durham. The centre will be located in Cannington at The Nourish and Develop Foundation (TNDF) building.

Why is this the first shelter for woman in North Durham? According to TNDF’s Women’s Services Coordinator, Johanne St. Louis, it’s because of a lack of funding in Durham Region, and, North Durham has a smaller population than the southern part of the region. “The population [when these townships are added together] becomes much larger and the need is great enough to require these types of services,” explained Ms. St Louis.

However, Ms. St Louis has noticed a significant population growth in Port Perry and Uxbridge within the last few years. When this increase in Brock, Scugog and Uxbridge townships are added together, to approximate North Durham’s population, it’s clear there are a lot of people living in North Durham.

“The [total] population is much larger and the need is great enough to require these types of services,” explained Ms. St Louis. TNDF spoke to staff members from the other women’s shelters in Durham Region. According to them, women from rural communities like Port Perry and Uxbridge are reluctant to disrupt their lives and move to urban areas like Whitby and Oshawa. Many women seeking to escape abusive households or ones with other living issues, don’t usually have access to transportation to reach these areas.

The idea for Cedar Haven started in late 2018, but research and development didn’t start until early 2019. The research and development stage involved visiting and assessing other shelters to get an idea of what the North Durham community needs and what’s needed to be implemented within their own.

When Cedar Haven is up and running, they will provide emergency shelter and a variety of other serves for women in crisis. In this context, ‘crisis’ ranges from abuse to risk of losing their home and becoming homeless.

“We are here to help in any way we can, so women can transition to a better situation,” said Ms. St Louis.

There are few shelter options for women in North Durham, especially if they do not want to leave their community. The services of TNDF are available to all women in North Durham, whether they are living in a shelter or in their own home.

TNDF also provides housing assistance, career planning and helps women figure out what other services will help them. Since many people are experiencing hardships, because of Covid-19, Ms. St Louis said she has noticed an increase in people asking for these particular services. “I feel this will have a positive impact on the community,” shared Ms. St Louis. “As we have seen with the current situation, many people are under a lot of stress and financial strain.”

Although Cedar Haven Women’s Centre is currently in the planning and design stage, Ms. St Louis said they are hoping to open their doors in late 2022.

For more information about Cedar Haven and TNDF, visit their website, at www.tndf.ca, call their local number at 705-996-0302 or toll free at 833-979-0302.

They are currently providing some services through their Women’s Services and Resource Centre. These services include emergency food, clothing, transportation, and counselling services.

“We want the women in our communities to know they are not alone and help is available when they are ready to reach out.”

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