Last year, 23 women and 18 children were sheltered at Parksville Qualicum Haven House.
However, Haven Society communications manager Chantal Lambert estimates about five or six women each year are denied shelter because their situations are too risky.
“If we have a high-risk woman coming into the safe home, we have to be able to assess her before she gets there, and if her risk is too high, meaning her abuser might come and look for her, or there has been a threat made, we can’t accommodate her in Oceanside,” said Lambert.
“We have to send her to Nanaimo, if there is capacity. And if there isn’t capacity at our transition house in Nanaimo, then we have to look at other communities.”
Sometimes Haven Society can help the women travel outside the community with a taxi voucher or bus ticket, but “for the most part, considering they likely have all of their belongings with them that they can carry, it is something that they would have to try and find transportation for,” Lambert said.
But Haven Society is trying to change that.
Since the opening of Parksville Qualicum Haven House in 2013 (operated in partnership with the Society of Organized Services), the goal has been to secure enough funding to staff the facility 24-7, meaning the house goes from being a shelter to a transition house, and women designated as high-risk can be protected there.
The society’s next fundraising effort is a bridge tournament fundraiser taking place Saturday, April 14 at Nanoose Place.
Admission is by donation, and registration is due by Friday, April 6.
The proceeds go toward funding Parksville Qualicum Haven House in the hopes of securing enough funding to increase staffing.
“The larger the pot, the closer we are (to having a transition house),” said Lambert. Even getting funding for the house’s existing services has proven to be a struggle.
“We actually fundraise over 50 per cent of our operating cost in the Oceanside area, just to keep services as-is, which is a significant amount considering in Nanaimo, we only need to fundraise about 20 per cent,” Lambert said.
“So as the amount our fundraising increases, we just continue to add hours at the transition house, add services, add support for longer periods of (staffing) and adding support on the weekends,” she said.
Last year’s Bridge for Haven tournament raised more than $4,000.
To register for the bridge tournament, contact Kathy Lowe at 250-468-9558 or email email@example.com.
Donations can also be made through the Haven Society website at www.havensociety.com or by mailing a cheque.
“All of the donations that we receive from the Oceanside area stays in the Oceanside area,” said Lambert.