The Rowan House Society recently established an office in Okotoks.

For about two months now, members of their team have been working out of their new community office in downtown Okotoks and after getting settled in, they held an open house on Monday, May 1.

The establishment of their new office actually represents a return to Okotoks for the organization.

Community Engagement Team Lead Ally Cramm explains their history in town.

“When our shelter first existed in 2000, we were a tiny basement suite in the town of Black Diamond and our office space was on Elizabeth Street in town. When the new shelter was built and opened in 2012, we no longer required office space because the shelter supported that.”

While their women’s shelter in High River is still operating as usual, having this new space in Okotoks (one of their largest service areas) makes their non-shelter services much more accessible.

“The Okotoks community office is for our community-based teams. That’s basically our outreach team, our court support worker, our preventative education team, and our community programs team lead. It just allows easier access for individuals in the community to get those supports that they need. Not everyone who is experiencing domestic violence and abuse requires shelter space. These community-based services really make a difference for some individuals.”

Rowan House was looking to establish an Okotoks centre in 2020, and though they came close, the COVID-19 pandemic limited their ability to deliver face-to-face services, and they withdrew for the time being.

Their new community office was made possible by a grant from the Calgary Foundation’s Catalyst Fund.

They also have some help finding the space from the Town of Okotoks.

“We were not really sure where to go or what to do in terms of our budget and things like that. The town was helpful in helping us find the space and just figuring out what was going to work best for our needs. They were just really excited to have us back and present in their community like we were so many years ago,” says Cramm.

Mayor Tanya Thorn, councillor Rachel Swendseid, and CAO Elaine Vincent attended the recent open house.

More information on the Rowan House Society and their services can be found on their website.