Shelters struggling to meet demands as more women flee violence


Women in crisis are finding it harder and harder to find somewhere to turn when facing violence in Niagara.

Director of Development and Violence Prevention Programs at Gillian's Place Nicole Regehr says they have seen the number of women and children trying to find a safe place to stay increasing over the last four years.

"The number of women that we've had to redirect has more than doubled in the last year. And so we're seeing close to 500 women and their children that we have to redirect just because we have no available space here."

Regehr adds women are never turned away to the streets; the shelter tries to find innovative alternatives. She says they reach out to other shelters, but many of them are full as well.

She notes this is a complex problem with many different facets.

"We know that there's a real housing crisis in our area that really effects not just the violence against women sector, but all social service agencies in the area are feeling the pressure of that. And so women are staying here longer, so it's not freeing up space for new women who are reaching out to us."

Regehr says what Gillian's Place really needs is stable funding from the province to meet the increasing demand.