EDMONTON, AB (April 11, 2013): The PC government should reinstate $200,000 in funding for a Calgary charity that operates a safe house for women escaping prostitution after the PC government eliminated it in Budget 2013, Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson said today. Over the last four years, Servant’s Anonymous has helped 176 women flee prostitution by providing them safe accommodation at the safe house without their former pimps knowing where they are.
It is the only safe house of its kind in Alberta for women over 16 and their children. “This facility saves lives and has the secondary benefit of saving taxpayers millions in health and policing costs. To the Minister of Justice, this group has had their funding for the safe house eliminated, how can you justify this financially or morally?” Anderson asked in Question Period today. Anderson called on the government to find the relatively small amount of money needed to keep the safe house open by taking it away from non-priority projects like the $350-million office building for MLAs in Edmonton or the $2 billion carbon capture and storage fund. “Supporting abused and exploited women and their children is a priority for Albertans. New offices for MLAs are not,” Anderson said. “This safe house regularly saves the lives of women and children, only costs government $200,000 each year to run and saves taxpayers millions in health and policing costs. This should be a no-brainer.” Anderson said the cut to Servant’s Anonymous is just another example of the PCs slashing effective front-line services and programs while continuing to waste money on corporate welfare, pay and perks for senior government officials and bonuses for failure in the health care system. Wildrose Human Services Critic Jeff Wilson said that unless the funding is reinstated, the safe house will stop taking in women and children on May 1 and will be forced to close its doors on June 30. “This facility does critical work; it helps prevent crime and violence and gives police a resource to help victims,” Wilson said. “The value for tax dollars here is undeniable. The government should consider all options to keep the safe house open.”