A Safe Place is in danger

Yukon's only after-hours support centre for women and children is asking Yukoners again to help them keep the doors open.

Yukon’s only after-hours support centre for women and children is asking Yukoners again to help them keep the doors open.

A Safe Place, run out of the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre, provides a hot meal and a place to be on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

The program is targeted at women who have mental health issues, don’t have stable housing or have a hard time keeping themselves and their children well fed.

It has operated since December of last year, run by two facilitators who are trained as counsellors.

The program was initially funded as a pilot project. The idea came from a research project that identified a need for a women-only space after-hours and on the weekends.

That funding ran out in July. At that point, program co-ordinators asked Yukoners to chip in to keep it going.

“There was a really great response to that,” said Hillary Aitken with the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre.

The fundraising drive raised $6,000, enough to keep the program going till now, she said.

A funding application has been submitted to Yukon’s Community Development Fund, but no response is expected till the end of November, said Aiken.

They need $3,500 more to get them through till then, she said.

The bare-bones cost of the program is $600 a weekend. That covers wages for two counsellors for three evening plus the cost of a little bit of food, said Aiken.

An average night might see eight to 10 women and a handful of kids show up, said Charlotte Hrenchuk.

The program has been very successful so far, she said.

“Some people say things like, if they weren’t here, they’d be at home drinking. Some people say they really appreciate bringing their kids. Especially single parents that are at their wits’ end. It’s kind of a safety valve for them to get out of the house, bring their kids to a safe place where they know they can get some support.

“Because it’s a gendered environment, it’s women only, they really like that. They don’t have to worry about somebody hitting on them or somebody stalking them or somebody behaving in an inappropriate way or running into somebody that they’ve had trouble with in the past.”

Losing the program would be a blow to the women who have come to depend on it, she said.

“For the women coming here for safety, it means that they’re going to be unsafe. For the women coming here instead of drinking, it means they’re going to be drinking. For the women coming here for support with issues, they’re not going to have that support. And as we know, crises don’t just happen on the weekdays during office hours.”

For those who have a hard time feeding themselves and their children, it will mean losing three nights without a free, nutritious hot meal.

“For families, women and children, that’s a big deal,” said Hrenchuk.

Building trust with the women is important, and shutting down even for a short time would be a step backwards, said Aitken.

“That’s what we’re really trying to avoid, because we want to build trust and continuity for these women who might not have that in other areas of their lives. We want to be able to be there and to have a place for them to count on. If we have to shut down, then it’s just sending another message that there’s another hole in the net that you’re falling through.”

Contributions to the program can be made at http://www.gofundme.com/bps2yo.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

Teagan Wiebe, left, and Amie Wiebe pose for a photo with props during The Guild’s haunted house dress rehearsal on Oct. 23. The Heart of Riverdale Community Centre will be hosting its second annual Halloween haunted house on Oct. 30 and 31, with this year’s theme being a plague. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Plague-themed haunted house to take over Heart of Riverdale for Halloween

A plague will be descending upon the Heart of Riverdale Community Centre… Continue reading

Indigenous lobster boats head from the harbour in Saulnierville, N.S. on Oct. 21. Elected officials in the Yukon, including all 19 members of the legislature, are backing the right of Mi’kmaq fishers on the East Coast to launch a moderate livelihood fishery. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)
Yukon legislature passes motion to support Mi’kmaw fishery

“It’s not easy, but it’s also necessary for us to have these very difficult conversations”

A pedestrian passes by an offsales sandwich board along Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse on Oct. 22. NDP MLA Liz Hanson raised concerns Oct. 21 in the legislature about increased hospitalizations due to alcohol consumption that correlate with an extension in the hours alcohol can be sold in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Alcohol-related hospitalizations rise after off-sales hours extended

Reduced hours for off-sale liquor establishments likely part of Liquor Act spring reforms

Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys) speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. The Yukon government has announced $2.8 million in tourism relief funding aimed at businesses in the accommodation sector that have already maxed out existing funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tourism relief funding offers $2.8 million to hotels and overnight accommodations

$15 million in relief funding is planned for the tourism sector over the next three years

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Most Read