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Tuesday August 15th, 2017

Posted at 12:52pm

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The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women and Families is overflowing.

“We have 12 beds on-site, and off-site space for families, easily up to a dozen at a time”, says Centre Executive Director, Lady Laforet. “Just because we are full, the calls don’t stop, we’ve had to get creative to meet the demand”.

This past weekend, Centre has added overflow mats to their living room space and a small on-site community meeting room, allowing an increase from 12 to 18 beds for single women- full the first night it started.

Kristin Douglas, the Centre’s Strategic Partnership Manager, sees the frustration from clients, and is quick to point to a planned move that is in the works. “We need a new building, where families and single women can both be served on-site, and we are working towards having a building purchased this Fall and renovations as soon as we can after that”.

In the mean-time, women lounge on couches, mats on the living room floor, flow out into the yard, and seem grateful to have a women-specific space to lay their head at night. The increased numbers tax the single-staffing at the shelter, increase food costs, utilities, and affect an already delicate budget, but creating this space for women to get assistance with housing isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity, says Laforet. “Safety concerns are unique, trauma considerations, mental health and addiction concerns from a lens that recognizes that single women and single parents face higher barriers to longer-term housing success”.

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