Rocky Mountain House’s women’s shelter will soon say farewell to the old post office building where its 10-bed service has operated, and make the move into a new and bigger building.
Executive director Cindy Easton said new 21-bed shelter will hopefully be open for business in the Clearwater Abuse Prevention Centre on Sept. 3.
“It’s exciting and it’s very needed,” Easton said of the Mountain Rose Women’s Shelter.
“Last year, in emergency shelter, we helped 120 women and 45 children. But we turned away, in that same time period, 327 women with 211 children.”
A total of 634 crisis calls were also answered.
“Even while we’re doing the move, our phone system will not be shut off at our old location until our phones are set up at the new location.”
She said with only three bedrooms, only three families at a time can be accommodated at the old site.
Sometimes, that means beds are empty, because strangers cannot stay in the same room as a child.
In the new building, two family units — one with three bedrooms and another with two bedrooms — will better be able to meet the needs of families.
The 5,000-square-foot shelter will be four times larger than the old facility, and occupy the second floor of the new building.
The third floor will contain five second-stage apartments, which is the first transitional housing of its kind in Clearview County. Women and children can live in the apartments for up to 18 months while they continue to get help.
“As soon as we get funding in place, we’ll be opening (the second-stage apartments). We’re hoping to have funding in place late fall, early winter.”
She said everyone is waiting for the province to announce its budget in October.
The federal and provincial governments together contributed $2 million toward construction of the $5-million project.
Easton said sponsors are still needed to pay for furniture for the apartments, and other fundraising campaigns for the project are continuing.
Shelter administration and community services offices will occupy the main floor of the centre.
“A lot of people think that we’re just a women’s shelter. But we already do so much more. We already run men’s programs, both for abusers and male victims of domestic violence,” Easton said.