The Airdrie and District Victims Assistance Society is sounding some alarm bells when it comes to capacity.

ADVAS Executive Director, Michelle Wagner, made a presentation at Airdrie City council Monday night where she provided the city with some concerning statistics.

According to Wagner, over the past five years, their caseload has more than doubled from 1,200 files in 2013 to 3,600 in 2018.

“I think we have a growing community and with a growing community there’s going to be more people in that community and more people who are looking to access our services,” said Wagner.

ADVAS covers an area of approximately 114,000 people and that number grows every year. Just five years ago that number was 92,000.

The organization provides 24-hour crisis response and support to victims of crime and tragedy in partnership with the RCMP. ADVAS is supported and operated within the Airdrie RCMP Detachment and assists individuals within the Airdrie and Beiseker Detachments and surrounding districts. All of their programs and services are free of charge and don’t require a referral.

While the need for supports and services has increased, funding for ADVAS has not kept up with the growth and Wagner says the may have to start making cuts if they aren’t able to find additional operating dollars.

“We’re trying to understand our full capacity,” she said. “It’s too early to really comment on [any potential cuts], but we’re really just trying to understand our funding structures and be able to make decisions that are going to continue to support the community.”

In order to balance their budget ADVAS needed to fundraise approximately $78,000 last year in order to sustain its programs offered to the community. Unfortunately, they only brought in $55,053 dollars, $22,947 below target. In 2019, in order to balance the budget, the society will need to fundraise $90,000 to maintain our programs and level of service to the community we serve.

Wagner says their funding is split between government grants and fundraising dollars, and there’s a big struggle among non-profit organizations to bring in donations due to current and continued economic conditions.

“Fundraising is a really tough go right now and we’re required to fundraise 35 to 40 per cent of our budget this year and we’re only hovering around 30 per cent,” said Wagner. “We still have quite a ways to go.”

The funding for victims of crime comes from grants from the provincial government and they have asked for more money to continue to provide their current level of services.

During Monday night’s City Council meeting it was revealed the province responded to the request by acknowledging the need and informing the group that they are in the process of reviewing funding models. Because of that, the province isn’t making any funding commitments until after the budget is revealed this fall.

Wagner says ADVAS is eagerly awaiting the provincial budget and will make decisions around programming from there.


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