by Stephen Dafoe
Jessie’s House, a 35-bed shelter in Morinville serving Sturgeon County, St. Albert and the greater Edmonton area, received a $1.1 million grant Friday to assist more rural women and families fleeing violence to have a safe and supportive place to stay.
The government says the funding will allow Jessie’s House to open to its full capacity once provincial COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. The shelter has been operating at half capacity since opening in May of 2020.
“Family violence affects communities right across the province, including in Morinville where our grief over the loss of Jessica Martel persists,” said Dale Nally, Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity and MLA for Morinville-St. Albert. “It’s the reason I have been advocating for important funding for Jessie’s House. As we continue to fund life-saving programs like this, I urge all Albertans to identify and support victims of family violence by reaching out with resources on local supports and being clear that it is unacceptable in our communities.”
Jessica Martel’s mother, Lynne Rosychuk, who started the foundation in her daughter’s name, said the foundation is important to bring awareness and safety to people living in a domestic violence or abusive situation.
“The death of my daughter by her common-law partner was senseless, and so is the shortage of places for people who are in crisis to go,” Rosychuk said. “It was a dream of ours to one day build a safe haven, and with the help of the community, Jessie’s House was born. With the help of this funding, we can continue to build our dream.”
Foundation Executive Director Marla Welk said the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation’s mission is to empower women, men and children to live a life free of violence.
“This funding will allow us to continue to provide a safe place for people fleeing domestic violence through Jessie’s House and the important work of outreach, education, community engagement and awareness,” Welk said.
The Family Violence Info Line at 310-1818 is available toll-free 24-7 in more than 170 languages.