The NESS Fund


In Canada, every 6 days a woman loses her life to gender-based violence. Survivors of gender-based violence frequently say that not having enough money was one of the primary reasons they stayed in abusive situations. Without help to leave, survivors have few options available to them to protect themselves and their families. For survivors who are staying at emergency shelters, a lack of financial resources means their ability to start fresh is still at risk. Not having money to pay first and last month’s rent or other expenses means that survivors and their families have to stay longer in shelters. This leads to many shelters not having enough space, forcing them to turn survivors and their children away.

So, we’re taking action.

To meet one of the most frequent and urgent needs voiced by survivors, YWCA Canada, in partnership with YWCA St.Thomas-Elgin launched Canada’s first National Emergency Survivor Support Fund (the NESS Fund). This initiative provides women, gender-diverse people and their families with financial support to leave unsafe homes or emergency shelters/precarious housing situations and begin their healing journeys.



What is the NESS Fund?

YWCA’s NESS Fund provide one-time financial support to survivors of gender-based violence to help them leave abusive living conditions, emergency shelters or precarious living situations like staying temporarily with friends/family or living unhoused.

Who can apply for YWCA’s NESS Fund?

The fund is open to women, trans, Two-Spirit or gender-diverse people who are 16 years of age or older AND who have not received this support before. Applicants must be seeking support to leave abusive living conditions, leave emergency shelters or precarious housing conditions (staying with family/friends; couch-surfing or living unhoused) they were accessing as a result of experiencing violence.

Please note, funding such as this is created in response to community needs. Each participant will be required to complete a program feedback survey to better inform YWCA Canada of the success of this program. 

What does gender-based violence mean?

Gender-based violence is an umbrella term describing harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender. It is rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms. This includes domestic violence and abuse, intimate-partner violence and family violence.

What can the fund be used for?

The fund is intended to help survivors to leave violence and establish safe, stable housing. You can apply for help with:

  • First and last month’s rent
  • Rental arrears that prevent you from signing a new lease
  • Set up expenses for utilities
  • Utilities (hydro, internet, phone) arrears that prevent you from setting up new utilities contracts
  • Moving expenses
  • Storage expense
  • Counselling, therapy or support services
  • Essential furniture for a new home;
  • Travel expenses (Bus, train, flight costs)
  • Gender-affirming care and services as needed by trans, Two-Spirit or gender-diverse people
  • Expenses related to attaining permanent resident status or Canadian citizenship
  • Other essential expenses related to leaving violence and establishing safe, stable housing

How do I apply for support?

Applications for support are currently CLOSED for the remainder of 2023 due to an abundant need during the first half of the year. Please check back in 2024 for new funding opportunities.


Who do I contact if I have questions? Please contact our Housing Stability Project Manager (519) 631-9800 extension 201.

Privacy disclaimer: please note all information gathered is kept confidential between YWCA St.Thomas-Elgin and our partner YWCA Canada and will not be shared with any third-parties as per our privacy policy. 

survivors statistic

I want to support the fund

Right now, the project is equipped to provide 1500 grants over the next 4 years in 12 regions across the country. We know we need to do much more to meet the needs of survivors nationwide.

By donating, you’re standing with survivors. You can make your gift here to YWCA Canada.

Stand with Survivors – Order a Pin

A beautiful way to show your commitment to ending gender-based violence. Pins are 1.3 inches x 1 inch (26mm x 30mm). Proceeds from sales power YWCA Canada. Pins are locally sourced in Toronto from MUKA – a people of colour owned and artists-run company.

Order pin online here

survivor pin
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