Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Non-Profit Sector

I work in a Women's Emergency Shelter. I have for the last 6 years. I love my job, and it is fulfilling in many respects. However, it comes with many challenges. I have become very cynical about the systems in place to help vulnerable and needy people. I am cynical and frustrated with the Legal system, which cannot be called the Justice System in my opinion. And most of all I am frustrated that our government does not see fit to properly fund core positions within the Shelter sector.

I am also afraid....afraid of the future of Shelters in the Province of Alberta. Workers in the Non Profit sector make much less than those who work for government. Not a big surprise. But here's a twist. We receive our core funding from the Ministry of Children's Services on a contract basis. They are not our Employer. However, in order to receive the core funding shelters have to fulfill a list of 'jobs'. And, this 'list' is getting longer, taking time away from our clients, but with no increased funding to provide more staff to help complete these jobs. It is getting more and more difficult to manage, especially in the rural shelters. Many shelters in larger centers receive funding and donations from large corporations. As they are larger shelters they have much more staff. They have Crisis workers, maintenance workers, people who clean, people who cook, admin staff, and data entry staff. In a small shelter all that work is done by the Crisis Workers.

To add a little insult to injury, there is a myth that those who work in the Non Profit sector are compensated for their work by the satisfaction they get from working to help people. However, such satisfaction doesn't pay bills, and makes me wonder why the two ideas - satisfaction and adequate pay - can't co-exist!

This may sound like whining, which isn't my intent. My intent is to raise awareness of the state of our Social Programming in the Province of Alberta. To raise awareness of how this will effect the vulnerable population.

This is just a little scratch on the surface of what it is like working in a Non Profit Women's Emergency Shelter. I have an electronic copy of a well written Fact vs Myth brochure on the subject. I will see if I can link it to this blog. However, if you are interested in reading it, leave me a comment with an email address and I would be happy to send it to you.

Also, check out this site:
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters is a group that advocates for shelters in Alberta, who provide training for shelter workers, who support the shelters in so many ways.  If you want to know how to help Shelters, or how to make your voice heard, ACWS is the site to check out. If you are in a different province, different country, or different continent, call your local Women's Emergency Shelter to see how you can help them out.

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