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The only shelter in the HRM specializing in support for women and their children escaping violence is closed. Since September 8, Bryony House has not offered any beds, and the workers are taking a stand for their clients and our community.
Now that legacy is at risk and the workers at Bryony House are speaking up. The original shelter was housed in a building that was nearly 140 years old and plagued with issues. These issues were known for many years. The board wisely decided that it was time to build a new shelter and obtained $5.2 million from the federal and provincial government. But years later, management and the board have failed to break ground for the new shelter.
On September 8, 2019, Hurricane Dorian was the tipping point. The decision was made to abandon the shelter and workers at Bryony House had to evacuate the shelter during the peak of the storm. The shelter is now uninhabitable. We will never know if the building would have survived the hurricane had it been properly maintained or what the situation would be if a new facility was already underway.
Although the poor state of the shelter was well known, there was no plan for an immediate temporary shelter. Staff at Bryony House have been told it will be 5-6 months until there is a temporary shelter. Now instead of offering women and their children a secure place in the community for 6 weeks or more, clients of Bryony House are now being offered only a couple of nights of alternate accommodations or they are being sent to shelters in other parts of the province. Research shows that women who leave a situation of intimate partner violence for 1 or 2 days are at a greater risk of being killed by their partner
The holiday season is fast approaching and it is the busiest time of year for shelters. There is no shelter in the HRM for women fleeing intimate partner violence. This lack of planning is putting lives at risk.
Learn more and take action at www.weneedahome.ca
Join us for a rally to show our support for the workers who are taking a stand for our communities most vulnerable.
Rally begin at 11:45 at Victoria Park (corner of Spring Garden Road and South Park Street). Join your voice with others and let it be known that no escaping violence should be left with nowhere to go.