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Charlottetown women’s shelter Blooming House meeting significant need

Blooming House co-founders Liz Corney, left, and Brynn Devine are thrilled to have been granted an extension until at least July 1 to continue operating a women’s shelter in Charlottetown with no charge for rent. They are exploring a permanent location for the shelter.
Blooming House co-founders Liz Corney, left, and Brynn Devine are thrilled to have been granted an extension until at least July 1 to continue operating a women’s shelter in Charlottetown with no charge for rent. They are exploring a permanent location for the shelter. - Jim Day

A new women’s shelter in Charlottetown is meeting a clear need, says a co-founder.

“It’s more than I thought,’’ says Brynn Devine.

“We always knew there would be people needing it.’’

Since opening on Jan. 25, a total of 19 different women have spent at least one night in the shelter. One woman has stayed more than 40 times.

There have been more than 114 bed nights tallied. The shelter has become steadily busier as word of mouth continues to spread.

Blooming House is averaging three to four women per night in April, and there has not been a single empty night for more than one month.

Use of a large house for the shelter was initially offered free of charge until the end of April. That arrangement has been extended to July 1 with a possible further extension until Sept. 1.

“We could not have opened, and we could not have sustained, without this kind of generosity,’’ says fellow co-founder Liz Corney.

“(The owners of the building being used for the shelter have) been really, really wonderful.’’

“It’s more than I thought. We always knew there would be people needing it.’’
-Brynn Devine

Corney says the ability to carry on the needed service speaks to the trust that has been developed.

She adds a significant need exists to provide a women’s shelter year-round.

Devine and Corney are exploring a long-term, permanent downtown location for the shelter as opposed to the current shelter, which is located a few kilometres away from the downtown core. A downtown location would offer shelter clients easier access to services like the soup kitchen and government assistance.

A number of the women who have stayed at Blooming House were not tapped into social services, but several have since been connected.

Devine says Blooming House, which is now a registered charity, has received tremendous community support.

Still, major fundraising is planned, and negotiations with the province are continuing for additional operational funding. The province has already provided $60,000 in seed funding through its Housing Action Plan.

Junior and senior overnight attendants are being sought to add to the current four full-time attendants, two part-time co-ordinators and three casual staff. Numerous volunteers also help with maintenance of the house.

Donations can be made by contacting Blooming House at Bloominghousepei@gmail.com or 902-213-9969 or through the online campaign at www.gofundme.com/bloominghouse.

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