Shelter Movers is a non-profit organization that helps women and families leaving abusive homes move in and out of shelters safely and free of charge. It stores their items until they are ready to go.
Lately, however, shelter movers have been making fewer moves, said Nova Scotia Chapter director Erica More.
“As many families are not moving in and out of the shelter at the moment, simply because they are staying in the shelter for a longer period of time,” More said.
On average, the charity keeps the client’s belongings in storage for six months. At least one customer has stored their item for a record 32 months.
“Due to the lack of affordable housing, some of the applications it may take to find homes could be in the double digits,” Morey said. “So the number of applications and the time taken for people to find safe and affordable housing has increased significantly.
“We are always on the lookout for more storage space, as the more current customers are staying with us, the less available space is for new customers who need access to our service.”
One of Shelter Movers’ referral partners is Ellis House, which provides Phase II safe housing to women and children who have fled intimate partner violence.
Heather Byrne, executive director of Ellis House, said the average stay of a client in one of the organization’s 18 safe homes is anywhere from six months to two years.
“We see women and families living 50 percent longer, simply because they have nowhere to go,” she told Global News, “being unable to find a safe, affordable place to call home.” disturbing” and “disappointing”. clients, and just one more obstacle in their healing journey.
“Safe, affordable housing is imperative for women to be able to leave abusive relationships and abusive homes and there just isn’t enough of them.”
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Because current customers are staying longer, it means there is little movement between crisis shelters and Phase II safe housing like Ellis House, Byrne said, which means space for new people in need of security. is thin.
“When we get phone calls and we are full, we work really hard with the woman who is calling or contacting the referring agent and looking for other resources and solutions for that. work really hard to work with other community partners for her. Her safety is the most important thing and we all work together and collaborate to make sure she can put herself somewhere safe, said Byrne.
“It’s harder than every time. So getting a family in a safe position requires more phone calls, more follow-up, more staffing resources. It’s not as straightforward as it used to be.”
She said Nova Scotia’s current housing crisis has had a “significant” impact on the domestic violence sector, and new housing is now needed.
“We have a strong community of women’s organizations here, especially those that support these women and help them face this hurdle… but it’s not as helpful as a new home would be,” she said. Told.
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