More demand for anti-domestic violence group’s counselling, transitional housing programs last year

Men Are Part of the Solution (MAPS), a non-profit organization that seeks to prevent domestic violence by helping men develop healthy relationship behaviours and deal with their addictions, saw an increased demand for their programs and services in the past year, annual general meeting attendees heard Sept. 30.

MAPS program director Michele Nichol said the organization had 57 intakes into its Health Relationships counselling program in the year ending March 31, up from 53 the previous year, as well as 22 clients who carried over from the previous year, more than the 12 they had in the same situation for the year that ended March 31, 2018. There are currently 11 clients enrolled in group counselling, which they are scheduled to complete in February 2020. The Healthy Relationships counselling program consists of 12 weekly group counselling sessions and up to eight one-on-one counselling sessions. The waiting list to get into the program is long enough to fill a year’s worth of counselling groups.

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“A lot of the guys that come to see us here are recommended by the courts,” said Nichol. “Not all, but some.”

Phoenix House, the MAPS transitional housing facility on Stanford Bay that opened in 2013, has also seen increased usage this year, particularly over the last three to four months, when all 12 of the available spaces have been occupied, compared to a historical average of about six.

“Men that go in there have to commit to sobriety,” said MAPS board president Oswald Sawh. “It’s a drug-free environment as well.”

Some residents of Phoenix House come there after completing treatment at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba’s Eaglewood Addictions Centre on Princeton Drive.

“Once they’re finished that program if they don’t’ have a place to live quite often we’re one option,” said Sawh.

Transitional housing residents also have the opportunity to take part in a partnership program with the City of Thompson and Manitoba Hydro in which MAPS is contracted to perform debris cleanup along the shores of the Burntwood River. MAPS is currently in the third year of its second five-year contract with Hydro to perform this work.

“We try to see which men in our transitional housing would be willing to work in that program,” said Sawh. Any spaces not filed by Phoenix House residents are filled by Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation members.

Programs offering accommodations need to provide activities for residents if they want to see progress, said Nichol, who attended a domestic violence conference in Europe this past year to make a presentation on how MAPS is addressing the issue.

“We also learned from other people what they were doing,” Nichol said.

Sawh said he realizes that there are still not enough programs and services for women and children affected by domestic violence but says the factors contributing to men acting violently need to be addressed as well.

“You cannot deal with just half of the equation when it comes to domestic violence,” he said.

MAPS’s expenses slightly outpaced their revenues this year, by approximately $7,000, but the organization still has about $6,000 in cash on hand as well as about $4,000 worth of accounts receivable and prepaid expenses.

The meeting closed with the re-election of Sawh and Dennis Green of Community Futures North Central development as the board’s two members-at-large.

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