The BC Society of Transition Houses (BCSTH) is sincerely grateful for the announcement made today by the Rogers Family, a generous donation of $4.5 million for Women’s Shelters Canada (WSC) to improve the lives of women and children experiencing violence across Canada.
BCSTH thanks WSC for their exemplary leadership and is thrilled that a significant portion of the funds will be distributed directly to provincial and territorial associations to help build the capacity of the Violence Against Women (VAW) sector across the country. BCSTH is a member-based, provincial umbrella organization that provides support to Transition, Second and Third Stage Houses, Safe Homes, and PEACE programs. These programs serve the needs of women and their children experiencing violence. BCSTH has over 200 member programs, serving more than 90 communities across BC.
The Rogers Family regional allocation of $225,000.00 to BCSTH will enable us to address immediately the most pressing support and shelter needs of BC women, children and youth experiencing violence. Supporting the most vulnerable among us will help build stronger safer healthier communities and families in Canada.
Prior to pandemic, BCSTH’s 2019 24 hour census showed that in 24 hours, 1,065 women, children and youth were supported and safely sheltered through Transition and Second Stage Houses and Safe Home programs in BC (collectively referred to as Transition Housing programs). During that same 24-hour timeframe, our members responded to 1,099 calls, emails and texts to provide information and support: an average of 46 calls, emails and texts an hour. In one year, more that 12,300 women and children accessed Transition Housing programs to escape violence in BC (BC Housing 2016).
COVID-19 has exacerbated the existing challenges and inequities that women, children and youth face as they are often the most vulnerable in times of crisis. Since social distancing measures were introduced, at least 10 women and girls have been killed by intimate partners or family members and BC has been the site of 2 intimate partner violence homicides.
Amy S. FitzGerald, the Executive Director of BC Society of Transition Houses says: “Gender-based violence affects countless women on a daily basis throughout BC. Transition Housing programs are safe refuges that provide lifesaving critical supports 24/7 for women and children. COVID-19 has exacerbated challenges that exist in BC and the Rogers Family grant will enhance women’s ability to access safe shelter and services as we navigate these challenging times together today and beyond. This substantial donation supporting the work of BCSTH and our member programs will empower women, children and youth to live safe and healthy lives free from violence.”