Thankfully, and regrettably, WIN House (Women In Need) has been a part of the Edmonton community for 50 years. Thankfully because it provides a safe place for women, children, and even their pets to go when they are fleeing dangerous and abusive situations. Regrettably because domestic violence continues to be such a prominent issue that we actually need more WIN Houses to accommodate the volume of women and children in need of this type of refuge (support).
Did you know in the 2016 / 2017 fiscal year WIN House:
Admitted 291 Adults and 438 Children
Received over 2000 crisis calls
Received over 1600 admission requests
Had to turn away 750 requests for admission as they were not able to accommodate due to capacity
One thing I want to make clear regarding the people that are turned away is that WIN works very closely with other agencies in the city to find alternate arrangements for these families; they are not forced to stay in the abusive home; they are just not able to be at WIN at that exact time.
WIN House has three shelters, two of these homes offer 21 day stays and the third is specifically for immigrant, refugee, and trafficked women and offers them a longer stay period due to the added complexities of their situations. One statistic I was very shocked to learn is that Edmonton is one of the “most active” ports for trafficked women in Canada. The location where the trafficked women come from seems to change frequently, but for some unknown (to me) reason Edmonton acts as a hub for the arrival and distribution of these women.
When women and children arrive at WIN they are provided a safe and undisclosed location at which they are paired with crisis intervention workers to assess their situation and figure out a plan to move forward. Children continue their schooling during this time and there is childcare provided to allow Mom the time she needs to breathe and make a plan. Most of the women and children that come to WIN flee with nothing; WIN has a clothing room in which families can go shopping to get the necessities including undergarments, shoes, clothing, hygiene and personal care products, and more.
The 21 day stay period may sound short, and it is; however it is enough time for these women to catch their breath and have access to critical resources to establish their steps moving forward. WIN relies on the donation and support of the community in order to continue helping these women and their families.
While donations, both monetary and goods, are extremely important, you can also help out by educating yourself on WIN House and domestic violence and sharing this information with your network. Knowledge is power and the more people that know about WIN the more support they are able to build to continue doing their incredible work.
Domestic violence is a cause very close to my heart and has had a significant impact in my life. I am honoured to be a WIN House Ambassador to represent them in the community and share the work that they do! Thank you Linda Kelly and WIN House for this opportunity and for all of the work that you do for families experiencing domestic violence in our city.
If you want to learn more about WIN House and how you can help, go to their website www.winhouse.org
If you are in need of help you can reach their 24/7 Helpline at 780.479.0058