Grande Prairie’s Rotary House Women’s Mat Program

Creating caring communities is key for the Community Foundation. Compassion, kindness and a non-judgmental approach that allows vulnerable individuals the opportunity to make positive choices is what set the compass for Grande Prairie’s Rotary House Women’s Mat Program in 2019.

With the help of a grant from the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta, the new program at Rotary House offers vulnerable women who have been subject to homelessness a safe and secure place to stay.

Above pictured – Kathy Lambert, Executive Director of Rotary House and Steven Hinkley, Board Member at the Community Foundation

“The biggest impact this grant has made has been allowing Rotary House to ensure that vulnerable women are not being put at risk when they access our services,” says Kathy Lambert, Executive Director at Rotary House. “The addition of the Mat Program is the first of its kind here in Grande Prairie and looks to provide safe and private emergency accommodations. The last impact has been from our ability to utilize the Women’s Mat Program as an additional space throughout the day to deal with the rapid increase in homelessness in this community.”

The grant provided the facility with funding to purchase new mats as well an additional security camera for the area. During the day, the space is transitioned into a sleep intox room that is monitored every 15 minutes and gives individuals a quiet and safe place to be.

Rotary House offers 24/7/365 accommodation to a wide range of clients, with primary services including single-night emergency beds and mats, transitional affordable housing and onsite supportive staff. The intox/mat program allows men and women who are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to stay in a safe environment overnight while their condition stabilizes.

“The Women’s Space has allowed me to feel a little peace of mind knowing that there is a separate space to sleep where I know I will be safe and warm,” says Stephanie, a Rotary House client. “Before I would usually not sleep much through the night or I never really got enough rest to even get through the next day because I would be worried about my safety or it was just too cold to fall asleep. I honestly don’t know what this past winter would have been like if it wasn’t for this shelter and the programs they run, so thank you.”

For many of the women who utilize Rotary House, the mat program has been the first step towards a more stable environment, with staff working on detailed case planning and appropriate referrals for their clients. “The goal of the Women’s Mat Program is to connect the individuals with the right services and allow them the chance to heal in a safe and secure environment,” notes Lambert.

From L to R – Tracey Vavrek, CEO of the Community Foundation, Kathy Lambert, Devon Wardley, Chair of Community Foundation and Gareth Pugh, Vice Chair of Community Foundation

The program assists vulnerable women struggling with homelessness, addiction and past traumas the safe space they require to build hope for tomorrow, she says.

“Without the Community Foundation, Rotary House would not have had such an impactful influence on the harsh winter that members of this community faced this past season. The Women’s Mat Project allowed us to open our doors to the vulnerable female population this winter who needed emergency accommodation services. The success of this project has resulted in a safer environment for females who are struggling with homelessness.”

From L to R – Kathy Lambert, Executive Director, Rotary House, Donna Koch CF Board Director, Jared Gossen, Chair of Rotary House Board

This grant was made available by our Community Impact Fund which ensures that our community has funds to be used where most needed.

You can make a difference in our community – not only for today but forever. When you make a donation to the Community Impact Fund, we invest that gift into a permanent endowment fund and the original gift is never spent. Earnings from your gift are distributed in our community to support all needs in the community.  Donations can be made online here – https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/38163 or by calling the Community Foundation at (780) 538-2820.