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HomeNewsAmy's Next Step Housing For Women Fleeing Abuse In Fenelon Falls Could...

Amy’s Next Step Housing For Women Fleeing Abuse In Fenelon Falls Could Close In June

KAWARTHA LAKES-Amy’s Next Step Housing in Fenelon Falls is slated to close in June in a deal that would see the building used for affordable housing units. There’s no immediate plan to replace the eight units for women.

The Board of Directors of Women’s Resources of Kawartha Lakes and the Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton (KLH) Housing Corporation announced an agreement for KLH Housing Corp to acquire Amy’s Next Step Housing on West Street South, Fenelon Falls today.

Officials say this sale would provide Women’s Resources with the revenue it needs to offer more options in Lindsay, closer to its existing programs and services, and support KLH Housing Corp’s ambitions for more mixed housing development in Fenelon Falls.

“This is a win-win agreement for both Women’s Resources and Kawartha Lakes Haliburton Housing. While we have appreciated the opportunity to provide next step housing in Fenelon, and have received tremendous community support, the location has not been ideal for many of the women we work with.  Barriers to accessing transportation, social service programs, medical services, education and employment within Lindsay have been ongoing challenges,” said Lori Watson, Executive Director of Women’s Resources. “The development of a housing service in Lindsay will provide women with more accessible and convenient options and will be close to the other services that Women’s Resources provides.”

The building is a two-storey structure consisting of eight units, a common room and kitchen, laundry on each level and office space. For many years now, Women’s Resources have owned and operated the building as transitional housing for women and their children fleeing violence. The building opened in 1993 and according to Watson has historically been full. It has helped hundreds of women and their children escape the pattern of abuse over the years. It’s the only one of its kind in Kawartha Lakes.

KLH Housing’s plan is to continue using the building as permanent affordable housing within the eight units, however they say the property also has potential for further development opportunities according to officials.

“We were pleased when Women’s Resources reached out to us late last year and were interested to sell,” commented Hope Lee, CEO of KLH Housing Corp. “There is a real need for more social housing in Fenelon Falls and this is a great location for us. Adjacent to our 106 Murray Street property where we’re developing plans for another 30 units of housing, this location will help us further our strategic priorities. Women’s Resources has done a great job of maintaining the property and it should be a seamless transition for us.”

Watson says they don’t plan to immediately replace those eight beds for women and children fleeing abuse but she’s not concerned about the impact.

“I’m not at all concerned, the Board of Directors is committed to providing a range of services and options for women and kids and shelter is only one step in their journey. We will continue to work very closely with CKL Housing and advocate for women as well as get housing for women fleeing abuse.” Watson said.  

Currently, only four units at Amy’s Next Step Housing are occupied due to Coronavirus and the other four are being used as isolation units for households to stay in prior to accessing the shelter in Lindsay. Women’s Resources will not be accepting new referrals and will work with the four households to find them permanent housing elsewhere before the sale occurs.

Going forward, Women’s Resources and Kawartha Lakes Housing Services say they will work together to find suitable housing options for victims of domestic violence and more details on programming will be released as it becomes available.

KLH Housing Corp’s offer is conditional on financing being approved by February 11, 2021. The closing date is June 30, 2021.

Officials with Women’s Resources hope to be able to open a program similar to Amy’s, in Lindsay, at some time in the future.

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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