National Emergency Survivor Support (NESS) Fund


In Canada, on average 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 Toronto 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.

YWCA’s NESS Fund provides one-time financial support of up to $2,000 to survivors of gender-based violence. The fund helps survivors leave abusive living conditions, emergency shelters or precarious living situations like staying temporarily with friends/family or living unhoused.

The fund is open to women, trans, Two-Spirit or gender diverse people who are 16 years of age or older residing in the Greater Toronto Area. 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 accessed as a result of experiencing violence.

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.

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 arears 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;
• 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; and/or,
• Other essential expenses related to leaving violence and establishing safe, stable housing.

Due to the high volume of applications, the YWCA Toronto NESS Fund has reached its capacity and can no longer accept new applications at this time.

-Updated September 12, 2022

Due to the high volume of applications, the YWCA Toronto NESS Fund has reached its capacity and can no longer accept new applications at this time.

-Updated September 12, 2022

Please contact Program Support Worker, National Emergency Survivor Fund NESSFund@ywcatoronto.org

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