JMMF cutting the ribbon on second stage housing

by Staff

Eileen’s Place, the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation (JMMF) new second-stage housing program, will commence Tuesday, Apr. 16, with a grand opening ribbon cutting.

The new three-unit second-stage housing project joins Jessie’s House, an emergency shelter for individuals and families needing a safe place to stay as they flee domestic violence.

Emergency shelters are intended to offer short-term accommodation for those fleeing domestic violence; JMMF believes creating a second-stage housing strategy will address gaps and ensure space in Jessie’s House for clients in crisis. Eileen’s Place will serve as a place for clients needing longer-term assistance. There, they will receive additional programming and work toward their goals.

“Shelters across Alberta receive far more requests for help than our resources can currently answer. Those facing abuse are at high risk of being killed by a current for former partner. They need the security of emergency and second-stage shelters. Homelessness has increased by 75% in the Edmonton area since the onset of the pandemic,” said JMMF Executive Director Marla Poelzer in a media release on Monday. “Research shows that domestic violence is commonly cited as the leading cause of homelessness for women. Lack of income or employment contribute to this number. Eileen’s Place will help fill these gaps, bridging the transition between Jessie’s House and a family living on their own.”

JMMF cites statistics indicating domestic violence is on the rise. Alberta shelters received 65,390 calls for support in 2023, a 25 percent increase from the previous year. Locally, JMMF saw a 16 per cent increase in calls to their crisis line and  35 per cent more people supported in their Outreach Program compared to 2022.

Eileen’s Place was made possible through a donation from Eileen Labonte, who supported the JMMF vision.

“For a lot of people, I don’t think they even realize how bad the domestic abuse situation really is. It’s not talked about, and I think that’s something that needs to change. Jessie’s House seemed like the perfect fit for me. There’s love here. There’s going to be peace and safety. And there will always be somebody here to listen,”  Labonte said in the same media release.

JMMF’s main facility is named for Jessica Martel, a 26-year-old mother who was murdered by her spouse in Morinville.

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