Nov 24

Safety is a Gift for Many

by Shannon Calhoun · 1 comment

Our personal safety and security is something that is often overlooked, but a simple question like, “Where will you sleep tonight?” does not have a positive response for many women and children in Calgary.

“Home Sweet Home” is not always the case and, for many families, something that most of us consider a given, is a luxury.

Fortunately the YWCA Mary Dover House, the YWCA’s transitional housing facility, is helping to change that.

Located in the heart of the City on 5th Ave SE, in 2010 alone they were able to assist 263 women and 105 children by providing safe and affordable accommodation, and counseling in times of crisis and transition.  These services provide a desperately needed support system to help them start making positive changes and rebuilding their lives.

Sadly, with only 100 beds available (including 6 emergency beds) and a one-year maximum stay, we were shocked to learn that despite their great efforts, in that same year they also had to turn away 1,469 individuals due to a lack of available space.  That included 788 children.

Since its inception in 1910, the YWCA of Calgary has provided valuable services to our community and helped over 100,000 people.

They are dedicated to breaking the cycles of domestic violence, homelessness and poverty and believe that healthy women and healthy families lead to a thriving community.

CTV and Golden Acre Garden Sentre have teamed up to help the YWCA assist more families with their “Give the Gift of Safety” campaign.

CTV’s involvement with this campaign started four years ago when two employees, Brigitte Rothe and Pearl Tsang, went on a tour of the YWCA Mary Dover House and were compelled to do something for the women and children that were residing there.

Rothe explains, “At the time there was very little awareness around women and homelessness because it’s hidden.  Women will do anything to stay off the street, especially when they have children.  So they’ll sleep in their vehicles, on a friend’s couch or whatever they have to do.  You’ll rarely see them on the street.  Once we were more informed, we knew we could help out by raising money for the house (which is what they really need), but more importantly we knew that we could raise awareness around women and homelessness.  And the rest is history….”

If you’d like to Give the Gift of Safety this Christmas and help provide a deserving family with a home please click here.

Photo Credit: James McMenamin

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