Orillia women's shelter in dire need of expansion
Published Thursday, December 7, 2017 7:13PM EST
Every year more than 150 abused women and children call Green Haven home.
The Orillia shelter has 13 beds in tiny rooms, narrow halls, cramped dining space and supplies stacked to the ceiling because there's little space for anything or anyone.
“Everything is a shared accommodation. There isn't a closet in the place. We’re not even remotely accessible; there are stairs on every level,” says Liz Westcott, a spokesperson for the shelter.
The number of women seeking help from Green Haven has almost tripled in the last five years. Guests say the shelter's programs are life-saving.
“They've helped me believe again that I can trust people and that I can be a valuable person to society,” said Tracy, a survivor.
Green Haven's outreach programs are a key component for survivors.
“The healing really starts when the women leave the shelter and start their new life,” says Sher McNulty, an outreach worker.
However, the shelter is too small to host many of the programs. Green Haven is working with the province and the city on a new larger building, but must come up with about $1 million of their own for the project.
Money raised from the selling of scarves and ties has already started, but more help is desperately needed.
“We hear about them all the time. A lot of girls need some help out there,” Betty Deschamps, a donor.
Wrapped in Courage scarves and ties help can be purchased at women’s shelters across the region.