Crystal Schick/Yukon News Barbara McInerney, executive director of Kaushee’s Place Transition Home, speaks at a rally for non-for-profits outside the legislature in Whitehorse on March 7.

Underfunding puts Kaushee’s Place at risk, says its executive director

The organization says it needs more core funding

Kaushee’s Place Transition Home is operating “month-to-month” and “will not make its next quarter” unless it receives an additional $525,000 in core funding, its executive director announced at a rally outside the legislature Mar. 7.

Kaushee’s Place is a 15-bed facility which provides safe emergency house housing for women and children in the community fleeing from domestic violence. The not-for-profit also operates Betty’s Haven, which has 10 transitional housing units where women and children can stay for up to 18 months in which occupants pay 25 per cent of their income up to fair market value.

The organization currently receives $1.4 million in government funding a year. From April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, the organization served 346 women, 163 children and received 4,000 requests for services, which includes things like counselling or legal advice for women trying to get out of abusive home situations, Barbara McInerney, executive director of the organization said.

McInerney said it has not received an increase in core funding in two years. She also said that if she has any money left over in the previous quarter, it affects what she gets the following one, which means she can’t plan for heavier months or contingencies.

“If by December I have any money left over, I’m not getting my final quarter,” she said.

Pauline Frost, Minister of Health and Social Services, told the News that the Yukon government has increased funding since 2012 by 7.9 per cent and that the organization is allowed to use its surplus funding. She also said it had increased funding to Kaushee’s place by two per cent this year.

McInerney said the organization has received no new funding in two years and had been told no new funding is forthcoming until a review of the organization is done.

“You want to do a review, then do the review,” she said, adding that Kaushee’s Place has been a not-for-profit in good standing for 40 years.

“I don’t know why we’ve been undermined so much,” she said. “(Kaushee’s Place) is highly fiscally responsible — we have some stellar finance people on our board.”

McInerney said her organization has done everything possible to meet the expectations of the government, for whom she recognizes it is due diligence to carefully watch where tax dollars are going but “doesn’t know what they want” that will make this process move forward for the organization.

Moreover, McInerney said that as part of a process to determine funding and that there is no overlap in services with Kaushee’s Place and other not-for-profits, she has been asked questions about whether or not her clients “really need to be there,” if the organization is sure they are experiencing violence, if they are accepting people who are homeless.

When she made this statement at the Mar. 7 rally for non-for-profits outside the legislature it was met by cries of “Shame! Shame!” from the crowd of 30-some supporters.

The organization has only been able to hold out financially this long because it is in “direct competition” with the government for careworkers, such as counsellors and transition home workers, The government can afford to pay “$10 more an hour” than Kaushee’s Place can, McInerney said and is “actively recruiting” staff who work in the field, adding that there are three full time positions she would like to fill but can’t, even if she had the money, which she doesn’t.

This has left the transition home with a chronic labour shortage which has left staff on site stretched thin, working up to twelve hours a day, with sometimes only one person on to oversee the two houses, a situation McInernery said she felt was unsafe and unfair, given the emotionally and physically taxing nature of the work.

“We can’t keep going and I won’t put my staff at risk,” McInerney said.

When asked about the organization’s financial troubles, Frost told the News that it is, “up to (organizations) to find efficiencies.”

McInerney said that putting on less staff is “impossible.”

“We can’t put any less staff on; it’s dangerous,” she said, adding that they had cut back as far as they could but they “still have to turn the heat on.”

Frost said that there is currently a comprehensive review of health services happening across the board, which the government intends to wrap up this year. Part of that review is looking at “support services” like Kaushee’s Place so that there are “alignment of services” across the board and that what the government is funding “dedicated services” for women in need.

“We are working with (Kaushee’s Place) … we committed to working with them,” Frost said.

“We’ve opened the door (for conversation)… We know Kaushee’s Place has been working in good faith with a very strong board.”

Kaushee’s Place isn’t the only not-for-profit which delivers vital community services currently on the ropes. Workers at Many Rivers — which delivers free mental health care and counseling to Yukoners — were laid off in February, after it was found the the organization and its board of directors were not in compliance with rules for not-for-profits, causing the not-for-profit to lose all government funding. Workers there had been on strike since November 2018, which means the services they provide have been unavailable to the community members who need them for several months.

Recently, Yukoners also saw the Salvation Army removed from its role at the Centre of Hope after it was found it was not delivering the programs it was supposed to deliver under its agreement with the Yukon government. That organization had functioned as the primary providers for emergency shelter and resources for vulnerable persons in the community, a responsibility the Yukon government assumed at the end of January.

“They keep saying they are going to do a review,” McInerney said. “Are (they) waiting until we shut down to do a review of us and then take us over?”

“I would say that’s not something (McInerney) should concern herself with,” Frost said, in response to that suggestion.

“I want to encourage collaboration with the objective that we have (these services),” she said.

“Not only are we working with Kaushee’s Place… we have many communities that don’t have these services … that’s what we have to think about.”

“It’s with a heavy heart that I spend so much time begging for money,” McInerney told the News.

“Right now I’m working for survival and I have been for the last two (years). That’s cruel.”

Contact Lori Fox at lori.fox@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Yukon paleontologists Grant Zazula (left) and Elizabeth Hall (right) examine mammoth fossils in Whitehorse on June 10. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Mammoth bones discovered at Dawson mine site

“So this is just a start, hopefully, we’re going to be learning a lot.”

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker plead guilty to offences under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Couple who broke isolation rules to get vaccines in Beaver Creek fined $2,300

Crown and defence agreed on no jail time for Rod and Ekaterina Baker

X
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for June 16, 2021.… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Yukon News file)
COVID-19 outbreak surges to 50 active cases in the Yukon

Officials urge Yukoners to continue following guidelines, get vaccinated

Team Yukon during the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse. (Submitted/Sport Yukon)
Whitehorse will bid for 2027 Canada Winter Games

Bid would be submitted in July 2022

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

Sarah Sibley Local Journalism Initiative, Cabin Radio Residents of a flooded Northwest… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

For the second year running, the Yukon Quest will not have 1,000 mile race. Crystal Schick/Yukon News
The Yukon Quest will be two shorter distance events instead of a 1,000 mile race

After receiving musher feeback, the Yukon Quest Joint Board of Directors to hold two shorter distances races instead of going forward with the 1,000 mile distance

It’s been a long time since most Yukoners have seen downtown Skagway. (Andrew Seal/Yukon News file)
What Canada-U.S. border changes could mean for Alaska travel

The federal government is expected to make an announcement on Monday

A rendering of the proposed new city hall/services building and transit hub. (City of Whitehorse/submitted)
City building plans move forward

Council approves procurement going ahead

Western and Northern premiers met this week to discuss joint issues. (Joe Savikataaq/Twitter)
Premiers meet at Northern Premiers’ Forum and Western Premiers’ Conference

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq virtually hosted both meetings this year

The sun sets over Iqaluit on Oct. 26, 2020. Nunavut’s chief public health officer says two COVID-19 cases at Iqaluit’s middle school came from household transmission and the risk to other students is low. (Emma Tranter/Canadian Press)
Iqaluit school’s contacts and classmates cleared after two COVID-19 cases

With an outbreak ongoing in Iqaluit, the Aqsarniit middle school has split students into two groups

Most Read