The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters have come out with a report called A Safe Path Home, calling for more second stage shelters

The Executive Director of Rowan House, Sherrie Botten was a member of the committee that wrote the report and she says there's a real need in the local area for something that goes past the emergency shelters.
 
"Rowan House is an emergency shelter so it is crisis, it is emergency, it's short term, it's very much communal living," Botten says. "So what we need in our area is a second stage shelter where women can move, with their family from the emergency shelter into longer term second stage sheltering that would take them six to 12 months into the community so that they can then feel supported, get things in place for their children, deal with their own trauma and ideally move on into their own home."

She says the research that's been done over the last two years really shows that there's a difference in how women are able to look after themselves and their children once they've been in a longer term facility.

Eighty-seven per cent of women were able to achieve progress towards their goals after staying in a second stage shelter.

"A staggering 67 per cent of women were homeless upon entering a second stage shelter and only nine per cent upon moving out were in that same situation, Botten says. "More than half of the women, 55 per cent were moving into stable housing at the end of their stay in second stage shelter."

She says the report will be put on the Rowan House web site and they're continuing to work toward building second stage housing in the local area. Besides Calgary the nearest centre is in Medicine Hat.

In the meantime they are continuing with other layers of transitional housing including a model where women stay in an apartment and they're developing a community host home project like room and board.

"Okotoks is very interested in being the centre for our second stage housing, now remember our area is huge, it goes south to Claresholm, east to Vulcan, west to the mountains and to Calgary, so in this large area there is no second stage shelter,"  she says. "Okotoks is interested in having that part of our Rowan House services."

She says they want to make sure they're providing all the supports that families need.

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