© Geraldine Brophy
The Committee on Family Violence held its annual general meeting at the Glynmill Inn Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Heather Davis, executive director of the committee, chaired the meeting.
The Committee on Family Violence is putting its focus on securing funding for a new shelter.
Heather Davis is the executive director of Transition House, the local shelter for woman and children leaving violent situations, which is operated by the volunteer committee.
Davis describes the need for the help provided by the home and the committee as huge.
“It’s ridiculous actually that in 2014 we still are dealing with these same issues,” she said.
Transition House has been in existence for 30 years and the current shelter was approximately 40 years old when the committee purchased it. Davis said there’s been some general work done on the building over the years, but never any significant amount.
“We’ve been making do with things the way they are for a very long time,” Davis said.
She said the home has ongoing sewer issues, roofing issues, a crumbling chimney and a recurring rodent problem.
“And beyond that even if the shelter was in immaculate condition the physical set up doesn’t meet our needs anymore in terms of clientele,” she said.
The home with 16 beds in four rooms operates pretty much at capacity all the time.
Last summer the occupancy rate hit 108 per cent and women and children had to be accommodated in hotels.
Based on trends, Davis expects to see another spike in the need before the end of June.
“Women will be sticking out their situations until the kids are out of school,” she said.
Four rooms just are not enough, she stressed.
“If you were leaving a violent situation and coming in here with your child you might have a room to yourself for the first night and then we might get another admission and you’d be sharing your room with a complete stranger,” Davis said “That’s not conducive to healing.
“What we would like to see is a structure that meets the needs of today and we could have some room to grow.”
She said that would include more smaller individual rooms and some larger family units.
The committee has submitted a concept paper to the Department of Health and Community Services asking for funding for a feasibility study on a new shelter.
The committee held its annual general meeting at the Glynmill Inn last Wednesday. During the meeting a new board was elected that consists of five returning members and five new members. One position remains vacant on the 13-member board which includes two ex officio positions — the executive director and a liaison from Western Health.
The board will elect its executive for the year during its next meeting.