From left; Lesley McCoy, public education facilitator, Charlene Rowein, assistant executive director and Leanne Wildeman, community engagement coordinator from Lloydminster Interval Home spoke to the Rotary Club of Lloydminster about this year’s Red Silhouette violence prevention program during Family Violence Prevention Month in the Border City. FILE PHOTO
Could 2018 be the year that Lloydminster’s Interval Home shelter for women and children escaping family violence secures a land deal with the city for future expansion?
That’s the top goal for the Lloydminster shelter in the new year according to Angela Rooks-Trotzuk, executive director of Interval Home, who knows there is a need for more capacity.
Rooks-Trotzuk attended the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters meeting in Edmonton on Dec. 7, coinciding with the release of annual aggregate data showing almost 10,000 women and children were accommodated by emergency, second-stage housing and seniors’ shelters in Alberta in 2016-17.
Overall, turnaways are due to capacity issues decreased by 18 per cent, but more than 22,000 women and children were turned away at 41 ACWS member shelters.
“Lloydminster is on par with the Edmonton and Calgary shelters for our actual turnaway numbers and our occupancy,” said Rooks-Trotzuk.
The turnaway ratio at Interval Home is 2.54, meaning for every one person admitted, 2.54 are turned away.
“Generally speaking, our turnaways have been increasing year over year,” said Rooks-Trotzuk.”
Interval Home turnaways numbered 999 due to lack of space and 1,300 in total due to space and lack of capacity with the ACWS provincial data collected from April 1 2016 to March 31, 2017.
While the stats revealed the number of women accommodated by Alberta shelters remained constant, Rooks-Trotzuk said Interval Home is a very busy place.
“It does not meet the need of our community and area—that’s our goal, to adequately provide the services to the community,” said Rooks-Trotzuk
“We are licensed to only hold 21 people at a time.”
Interval Home admitted 393 women and children in 2016-17, above the provincial average of all ACWS shelters.
“Our shelter will only ever see that 400 mark—that’s the capacity we would ever get to.” said Rooks-Trotzuk with the land for expansion in mind.
“So hopefully, in 2018 we’ll be able to announce that we’ve made some movement on that and actually begin plans on doing drawings and getting a capital campaign going for a new shelter.”
More than 50 per cent of women and children sheltered at Interval Home over the annual data period are Indigenous, in keeping with the provincial average of 54.7 per cent last year.
“When you look at the on-reserve data, there is a lack of federally funded on-reserve shelters, but they do come into our shelter because we are the next closest location,” said Rooks-Trotzuk, referring to local bands such as Onion Lake First Nation.
She said one of the main reasons the directors of ACWS shelters get together is to talk about the impact shelters are making in Alberta in relation to people accessing the local services.
The annual statistics help ACWS to improve services for women.
“One of the main messages that came from those stats is that we are certainly seeing an increase in our outreach programs where we work with women in the community,” said Rooks-Trotzuk.
The ACWS data showed outreach services provided to women and children increased by 45 per cent provincially.
“We did see a slight decrease in our turnaway numbers and an increase in our outreach numbers, which is consistent with what we’re seeing in the province,” said Rooks-Trotzuk.
Interval Home defines outreach as non-residential services aimed at prevention and advising women by in-person or telephone support.
“I think what’s really important is that we are able to go to them and provide services to them directly to help meet their needs in the community,” said Rooks-Trotzuk.
“We’ve had to double our staffing in that area to accommodate the amount of requests for service for our outreach program.”
Interval heads into 2018 on the heels of its most successful Family Violence Prevention Month campaign in November using red silhouettes representing silent witnesses of family violence to help to spread awareness.
“They are used as a tool to create conversation about the myths and the realities of domestic violence,” said Rooks-Trotzuk.
“We have noticed that people have really responded to that.”
“There is a lot of misconceptions about family violence in the community.”
The Lloydminster Community Youth Centre was involved for the first time in trying to get awareness out about family violence.
The youth were involved in creating a video to help people understand what family violence is and how it impacts their communities.
“That was an exciting addition for us this year,” said Rooks-Trotzuk.
Rooks-Trotzuk expects the shelter to be busy during the holiday season which can precipitate family violence.
“So anytime you have an escalation in stress you do have an escalation in violence in relationships,” she said.
“Over the eight years I’ve been here, our shelter is full at Christmas time, whereas it never really used to be.”
Rooks-Trotzuk noted she is glad people feel they can come to the Interval Home and receive support and safety and information when they need it.
Looking ahead to 2018, she said “Another goal is to continue to make sure we have the consistency in our programming, in shelter, in the second stage shelter (Dolmar Manor), our youth centre, and community work.
“So we would be continuing just being able to partner and be able to collaborate and provide those services that are being done right now.”