By Chad Ingram
Feb. 7, 2017
Haliburton County council is intending to fund a request the
Peterborough Haliburton YWCA is making of it and its lower-tier
townships for the continued operation of the women’s shelter in Minden.
The YWCA was forced to close the Haliburton Emergency Rural SafeSpace
(HERS), an emergency shelter for women and children suffering domestic
violence, for five months last year due to increased usage and lack of
The organization recently launched a fundraising campaign, seeking to
raise $120,000 to help keep the shelter open during the next two years
and also conduct a sustainability study on providing services in rural
As Peterborough Haliburton YWCA director of philanthropy and
communications Jennifer Cureton told Minden Hills and Algonquin
Highlands councils during recent visits, the organization helped 124
individual women in Haliburton County last year, fielded more than 1,200
crisis calls and conducted some 670 outreach counsel sessions.
“We have a lot of families in poverty,” she said of the county. “We
see a lot of isolation and lack of transportation. There are a lot of
hidden homeless here in Haliburton County.”
Cureton said some women stay with abusers, exchanging sex and enduring abuse for food and shelter.
Cureton visited Minden Hills councillors during a Jan. 26 meeting and
Algonquin Highlands councillors on Feb. 2. She was making what she said
was a special, one-time funding request of $5,000 from each of the
townships and was scheduled to visit Dysart et al and Highlands East
councils with the same request.
Minden Hills council granted the request, voting to allot $2,500 from
each of the 2017 and 2018 budgets to the cost. Algonquin Highlands
councillors resolved to defer the request to their upcoming budget
The YWCA request then came up at Feb. 3 Haliburton County council
budget meeting, with the organization requesting $5,000 from the upper
tier as well.
“To me, social services has been built into the county budget and it
should be a county responsibility,” said Algonquin Highlands
Deputy-reeve Liz Danielsen. “I do not in any way want to take away from
the importance of the problem or the request.”
Danielsen suggested that Minden Hills council reverse its decision
and that rather than the lower tiers chipping in, the county cover the
“You haven’t written a cheque,” Danielsen said.
“In a perfect world, the ask would have been here [the county council
table],’” said Minden Hills Reeve and County Warden Brent Devolin.
Devolin said he wasn’t sure whether the majority of Minden Hills council
would support reversing the decision.
“The point is, we can’t be double-dipping,” said Dysart et al Reeve
Murray Fearrey, adding the money should either be coming from the lower
tiers or the upper tiers.
Fearrey, Devolin and Algonquin Highlands Reeve Carol Moffatt have all
expressed concern that the one-time request from the YWCA, which is
funded provincially, might morph into an annual one.
Receiving 61 per cent of its funding from the province, the
Peterborough Haliburton YWCA fundraises the reminder of its costs and
while money raised in Haliburton County stays in Haliburton County,
most of the money used locally is raised in Peterborough and
transferred to Haliburton. Minden Hills Deputy-reeve Cheryl Murdoch said
the closure of the shelter was something that could not be repeated.
“The fact is it was down for five months and hardly anybody knew,”
Murdoch said. “And that’s totally unacceptable. This can never happen
again. I will never see that place go down again.”
With the requests from the county and its lower tiers combined, the YWCA is seeking $25,000 over two years.
“If your choice was to fund it all, it would be $12,500 [per year for
two years],” said county chief administrative officer Mike Rutter.
“To me, it makes more sense that it lives at the upper tier,” said Moffatt.
“If it’s $12,500, we can surely find it in a $22 million budget,” said Fearrey.
Councillors directed the request be funded, leaving them and staff to find the money in the budget.
The budget has not yet been approved.