Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter, which Toronto Real Estate Board members have supported through the Realtors Care Foundation since 2008, has supported more than 5,000 families with immediate, critical care services. Offering a crisis line, shelter services and transitional and outreach programs, it strives to help women rebuild their lives. These services are vitally important not just to the victims of abuse, but to all Canadians since according to the organization, health-related costs of violence against women in Canada exceed $1.5 billion a year.
Executive director Jill Cunningham says one client who was helped by Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter went on to complete her education, find affordable housing and day care and establish a successful company.
“Women and children that stay at Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter learn that the violence and abuse is not their fault, they’re not alone and that they can live independently,” says Cunningham.
TREB’s grant allows the organization to provide family start-up kits to women and children leaving the shelter or escaping an abusive relationship. Each kit consists of the basics required for beginning again, along with some financial relief.