This fall, Castlegar & District Community Services will launch a new program to help women who have experienced domestic violence build safer, healthier lives.
There are many obstacles to leaving an abusive relationship, and one of them can be financial dependence on the abuser. The new Castlegar & District Loans for Women Program aims to help lessen the financial roadblock that many women and their children face when leaving an abuser and trying to begin a new life free from violence.
On a daily basis, CDCSS supports women who experience violence in relationships through a variety of programs. These include RCMP Victim Services, Safe Home, Women’s Outreach, Stopping the Violence Counseling, Bridges for Women, Children Who Witness Abuse Counseling, Family Counseling, as well as Seniors programming. Many clients may end up receiving help from several of these programs or other agencies. This new interest-free and low-payment loans program will be a valuable addition to the services already in place.
However, it should be noted that the loans are not an easy ride or a solution on their
own. The small loan amount won’t be giving women any additional luxury. But for those who have to start with nothing or just get by one more month, it will be enough to help with essentials such as a damage deposit or rent, groceries, utilities, or other approved items for the household and children.
The application process is rigorous, and there are several stipulations. For example, the applicant will need to show an ability to repay the loan within the 1-year repayment plan. She will also be required to participate in financial literacy training and receive ongoing personal counseling or support with the agency. In addition to easing the financial burden of setting up a new household, the responsibility of the loan can be an opportunity to learn new life skills that will be needed going forward.
The loans are only given on a referral basis. In other words, they won’t be available to women who approach CDCSS to inquire. Rather, designated staff at CDCSS and partnering organizations will refer existing clients that they have identified as meeting the requirements.
For more information, please contact Kristein Johnson, Executive Director.
Click here for staff contact list.
CDCSS gratefully acknowledges funding for this program from the Canadian Women’s Foundation (CWF), a national organization that empowers women and girls in Canada to move out of violence, out of poverty and into confidence.