A non-profit group called Blooming House hopes to be providing homeless women with a warm place to stay in Charlottetown early in the new year.
If all goes well, a building that could house 10 to 12 women may open its doors as early as Jan. 1.
Blooming House co-founder Brynn Devine says her group is optimistic it will secure a building rent-free to operate as a temporary shelter until the spring.
Devine is hopeful that run will both prove there is a considerable demand for a women’s shelter as well as demonstrate the group is equipped to successfully run the service, paving the way for a permanent shelter.
Project co-founder Liz Corney believes up to 15 women may need a shelter in Charlottetown on any given night.
That being a new shelter in addition to Anderson House, which is operated in the capital city by P.E.I. Family Violence Prevention Services as an emergency shelter for women and children in need of safety because of violence in their lives.
Devine and Corney, who started the initiative in January, are frustrated with how long it is taking to get a women’s shelter off the ground.
“It is very difficult,’’ says Corney. “I think it is taking way too long.’’
Still, they both have been working hard to build support and are determined to open a shelter.
Devine says all three levels of government have been “receptive’’ to the project and know they will be approached to provide financial assistance.
A gofundme campaign has also been launched with a goal of raising $10,000. Donations can be made at Gofundme.com/bloominghouse.
The last Charlottetown homeless shelter for women, called Grandmother House, closed its doors in 2012.
The Blooming House initiative is receiving strong community support with many voicing a desire to have an active involvement, says Devine.
Volunteers will be sought, as will a co-ordinator and trained staff.
Beds and bedding are also needed.
Corney says the name Blooming House was chosen to convey a sense of warmth and hope.
“Giving these women a chance to bloom, to prosper and grow,’’ she says.
Corney believes homelessness still remains, to a great extent, an invisible issue since Islanders do not see women sleeping on the street.
However, many are couch surfing, some sleep in cars and others put their health – and even their lives – at risk in exchange for a temporary roof over their heads.
Anyone facing an immediate shelter crisis can contact Housing Services at 902-368-5770 for referral to community and government services. Women experiencing family violence can also contact Anderson House at 1-800-240-9894.