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Tag: Lori Van Ee

Women's hands place on top of one another

Sheltering hope

In Pincher Creek, an emergency shelter stands as a beacon of hope for women grappling with the realities of domestic violence and crisis.

Established by the Pincher Creek Women’s Emergency Shelter Association, this refuge extends its hand to those navigating the darkest corridors of family violence, providing essential support and sanctuary for women and children.

The need for such a shelter was recognized in 1988, following a forum on family violence issues sponsored by Matthew Halton High School. In 1992, PCWESA registered as a non-profit organization and, five years later, the shelter opened its doors in Pincher Creek.

Since then, this haven has offered hope to women experiencing violence within their families.

The shelter’s operations are finely tuned to offer a lifeline to those in need. When a woman seeks assistance, a carefully orchestrated process unfolds. A simple phone call sets in motion a chain of support.

 

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“Women can access the residential program of the shelter by calling the shelter to request space. We have criteria that we use to determine if we would be a fit for women who are calling to request space,” says the shelter’s executive director, Lori Van Ee.

In crisis situations, women and children can stay at the shelter for up to three weeks.

“We are only an emergency shelter that provides safe, accessible shelter for 21 days, while women and families are seeking more long-term housing,” Lori tells Shootin’ the Breeze.

Asked about times of high demand, Lori says the association stands ready with contingency plans to ensure that no one is turned away in time of need.

“If we cannot accommodate any individual or families, we would always ensure that they are able to get to another safe shelter. In an emergency, we could utilize the cots that we have at the shelter, that were donated to us by Matthew Halton High School, until we were able to find space elsewhere for the women and/or families,” she says, underscoring the community’s unwavering solidarity and support.

 

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The safety of occupants is paramount. Lori emphasizes that security measures, including round-the-clock staffing and surveillance systems, safeguard residents from potential threats, ensuring their peace of mind as they navigate the path to healing.

Beyond providing a safe haven, the PCWESA runs several projects to empower women to rebuild their lives beyond fear.

“We provide education to individuals and families accessing our shelter on domestic violence, safety planning and how family violence affects children,” Lori explains.

“We assist women in accessing different resources and services to meet their needs and achieve their short-term goals. We offer various programs within the shelter to help individuals and families become more confident and improve their well-being.”

Currently, the shelter operates three programs: residential, outreach and child support. The residential program aims to provide a safe and supportive environment for women and their children, while the outreach effort assists women in setting goals that will enable them to live more productively and independently.

 

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Through community outreach and advocacy efforts, the shelter team strives to raise awareness of domestic violence and its far-reaching effects, collaborating with local stakeholders to amplify the message of prevention and intervention.

The child support program facilitates age-appropriate activities for children staying in the shelter, as per the PCWESA website.

Lori is undeterred by the absence of designated funding for southwestern Alberta in the 2024 provincial budget.

“I am happy for the shelters that were able to receive the funding,” she says. “This funding allows those shelters to operate at a greater capacity, being able to support more individuals and families who are seeking their services.”

The Pincher Creek Women’s Emergency Shelter continues to be a support system, providing vital support and sanctuary for those in need, as they journey towards healing and empowerment.