For Your Information
Safe Shelter and Housing Is a Right!
Shelters Canada conducts a “snapshot day” annually to assess whether the needs of women and children for shelter are being met. On snapshot day 2018, 218 women and 186 children requested shelter at 105 transition houses and shelters. Of these 404 requests, 159 requests for shelter from women and 145 requests on behalf of children were denied due to lack of capacity. Of those seeking shelter, 75 per cent were turned away. On snapshot day, 47 per cent of the shelters that responded to the request for information reported their shelters were full.
Snapshot day revealed that three out of four women and children who came to ask for shelter were turned away. Nine out of ten came because they were not safe in their homes. Both the number of shelters reporting they were full and the rate at which women and children were denied shelter were higher in 2018 than in the previous three years.
In a recent report, Shelters Canada states that one in five shelters surveyed reported they have not received any funding increases in ten years. The lack of funding leads to denial of shelter and has serious implications for the staff. Kaitlin Bardswich, communications and development coordinator at Women’s Shelters Canada said, “They are having to deal with staff turnover as well as over-burdened staff who are underpaid and dealing with very significant issues on a day-to-day basis.”
The refusal to meet the most basic need for safe shelter and housing is a damning indictment of governments that claim to speak in the name of women and brag of their accomplishments and concern. Governments and cartel parties vying for power perform an obscene ritual of promises made and promises broken in a system that does not permit people to hold those in power to account.
The situation reveals the need for political power in the hands of the working people to affirm the right of women, children and all people to safe shelter and housing as a right that belongs to all by virtue of being human. Empower yourself now! Speaking out in your own name is an important step to becoming the decision makers and bringing into being a society in which the rights of women and children and the rights of all are provided with a guarantee.
(With files from CBC)