Elk Valley shelter gets a makeover

Dated: 01/06/2019

Views: 33

Elk Valley shelter gets a makeover

Elk Valley Safe Homes seeks funding for 24-hour in-house staffing at newly renovated shelter

Women and children fleeing violence in the Elk Valley will be more comfortable after renovations to the local shelter.

It has been closed since early November for the refurbishment, which was due to be completed by Christmas.

“We basically did a complete renovation,” said Elkford Women’s Task Force Executive Director Kim Bauer, speaking on behalf of Elk Valley Safe Homes.

“We changed windows, we changed flooring, we did a bathroom renovation, a complete kitchen renovation, we upgraded lighting, we upgraded locks – pretty much everything from top to bottom.

“For our clients, it’s a space that will function better. Our kitchen was original… so our appliances were older, our countertops were not in the best shape (and) our cabinets were starting to break.

“All in all, it will be a nicer space but it will also function better.”

The renovation was funded by BC Housing and completed by Up the Valley Construction, which donated labour to the project.

During the closure, Safe Homes continued to provide outreach services to families in the Valley, transferring those needing emergency housing to the Cranbrook shelter or hotels.

Bauer said services are free and available 24 hours a day, year round.

“We provide shelter, transportation, support, information, referrals, safety planning and accompaniment to the women accessing our program,” she said.

“Women needing services do not have to be staying in the Safe Home to access services.”

In 2018, Elk Valley Safe Homes received more than 1200 referrals for service and provided over 1000 shelter nights.

Bauer said demand was on par with previous years, however, shelter nights were slightly lower due to the renovation.

“On average over the last three years we’ve seen 1200-1400 shelter nights a year,” she said.

“It’s always busy but we tend to find that early January is busier. I think folks try to stay together over the holidays and make things work out.”

Bauer has worked in the anti-violence sector since 1992 and believes there is growing awareness of violence in relationships.

She said what was once a private matter is now being talked about publicly.

“Several high profile cases of domestic homicide in B.C. and Canada over the last 25 years have brought about reviews with regard to where the system has failed victims and recommendations looking at how to better support survivors of relationship violence,” she said.

“We’ve learned that coordination is key to supporting our clients and that when they are well supported they are empowered.”

Going forward, Safe Homes hopes to enhance services for women accessing its program, which currently includes on call staffing 24 hours a day.

“We’ve recently made an application to obtain 24-hour a day in-house staffing and to provide Second Stage Programming at Chrysalis House,” said Bauer.

“We’ve recently been the recipient of an extremely generous donation of $150,000 from Bearspaw Community First Society that will allow us to enhance our services.”

Some of that funding will go toward Safe Homes’ Elk Valley PEACE program, which provides support to children aged three to 18 who have experienced violence in the home and/or a difficult parental separation.

It also offers a rental assistance program for women fleeing violence.

Blog author image

Steven Axford

Steve Axford grew up in Victoria, BC and has always been active in his community. Steve is a Victoria Cougars Hockey Team alumni as well as a Victoria Shamrocks (intermediate) alumni. During his time....

Latest Blog Posts

No clear end to pandemic-related uncertainty in B.C. housing market

VANCOUVER — A new forecast says the housing market in British Columbia remains uncertain during the COVID-19 pandemic.Central 1 says it expects home sales to recover marginally in 2020 and

Read More

Victoria real estate market impacted by many different factors in June

A total of 808 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this June, 9.2 per cent more than the 740 properties sold in June 2019 and 76.8 per cent more than the previous month of May

Read More

Why housing is still the best investment for most Canadians

Owning a home remains the largest single investment for most Canadians. So it’s not surprising that fear over an economy turned upside down literally hits home for so many. The Canada

Read More

Victoria real estate activity picks up as restrictions ease

June 1, 2020 A total of 457 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this May, 46.1 per cent fewer than the 848 properties sold in May 2019 but 59.2 per cent more than the

Read More