The strain on the violence against women shelter has been an unfortunate reality for years, with growing numbers of women looking for safe shelter. At times, the shelter is so full women and children are provided cots in community rooms or offices while staff begin calling shelters outside of the city’s boundaries. A recent article drew attention to the ongoing overcapacity issue resulting in the community stepping up to provide much needed relief – Over-capacity women’s crisis shelter forced to house families in office spaces | CBC News
When the system experiences these pressure points, the impact is felt by women, children, staff, and the agency. For some women there will not be a safe bed offered, instead they will be faced with the reality of having to decide to accept a safe bed outside of their community. To be forced to leave your community, family, and supports is not a decision that is made lightly. And let us not forget the impact on children – for many children they will be forced to leave their school and friends.
There is no one solution to this complex problem. In the moment, we must support our emergency shelter system through additional funding and donations. In the long term, we must prevent gender-based violence by challenging social inequalities, challenge colonialism, and dismantle toxic masculinity.
Learn how to end gender-based violence by visiting www.mentoraction.org
Donate to Interval House of Hamilton by visiting www.intervalhousehamilton.org
Together we can end gender-based violence.