Jessie’s House is a 35-bed women’s shelter in Morinville, serving women in rural Sturgeon County, St. Albert and the wider Edmonton region. This investment will help the shelter open at full capacity once COVID-19 restriction are lifted, and provide much-needed supports to help women and children live free from domestic violence.

“Women’s shelters do vital life-saving work supporting women and children impacted by domestic violence by providing critical supports to help families break free from abuse and live healthy lives. We know the pandemic has increased incidences of family violence, and supports are required now more than ever. This new funding will ensure those supports are in place at Jessie’s House.”

Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Community and Social Services

“Family violence affects communities right across the province, including in Morinville where our grief over the loss of Jessica Martel persists. It’s the reason I have been advocating for important funding for Jessie’s House. As we continue to fund life-saving programs like this, I urge all Albertans to identify and support victims of family violence by reaching out with resources on local supports and being clear that it is unacceptable in our communities.”

Dale Nally, Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity and MLA for Morinville-St. Albert

Since opening, Jessie’s House has been operating at half capacity. This funding will support the shelter to fully operate 35 spaces, support staffing and the development and delivery of programming for families in shelter and in the wider community.

“The Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation is important for us as a society to bring awareness and safety to people living in a domestic violence or abusive situation. The death of my daughter by her common-law partner was senseless, and so is the shortage of places for people who are in crisis to go. It was a dream of ours to one day build a safe haven, and with the help of the community Jessie’s House was born. With the help of this funding, we can continue to build our dream.”

Lynne Rosychuk, mother of Jessica Martel and founder, Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation

“Violence against another human being is unacceptable. Everyone deserves to feel loved, safe, respected and understood despite their circumstances. The Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation’s mission is to empower women, men and children to live a life free of violence. This funding will allow us to continue to provide a safe place for people fleeing domestic violence through Jessie’s House and the important work of outreach, education, community engagement and awareness.”  

Marla Welk, executive director, Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation

Emergency women’s shelters provide many services through outreach and community supports. Skilled shelter staff can provide risk assessments and safety plans for women unable to leave, develop individualized supports designed to meet the unique needs of each client and help educate the community on the impacts of domestic violence and building healthy relationships.

Domestic violence issues can be made more challenging during times of crisis, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, and supports are available for those in need. The Family Violence Info Line at 310-1818 is available toll-free 24-7 in more than 170 languages.

Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses and protect Alberta’s health-care system. An additional $5 million has been provided to women’s shelters to help women isolate in safety and to increase community outreach to support women unable to leave abusive relationships.

Quick facts

  • This funding will enable Jessie’s House to fully operate the 35-bed women’s shelter.
  • Jessie’s House opened in May 2020.
  • Jessie’s House is named after Jessica Martel, who was killed in a domestic violence incident.
  • This funding is reallocated from existing ministry resources.
  • Budget 2021 maintains funding for women’s shelters at $51.3 million.
  • Funding supports programming and operations for 30 women’s emergency shelters, 16 second-stage shelters, two seniors shelters and five fee-for-service shelters.
  • General funding covers costs for:
    • 721 beds in women’s emergency shelters
    • 189 units in second-stage shelters
    • 16 spaces in elder abuse shelters