Those looking to escape domestic and family violence may soon have access to a shelter locally in Drumheller, thanks to a donation by the Rotary Club of Drumheller to Big Country Anti-Violence Association (BCAVA) on Friday, August 28.
The nearest shelter currently is located in Strathmore and, while funding for transportation is available, space is not always available.
Secretary for Big Country Anti-Violence Association, Cora Bolt told the Mail, “We’ve thrown around the idea and discussed the need for an interim shelter in Drumheller for quite some time. I’d say this has been an ongoing discussion for years.”
She added talk of a local shelter started prior to the collapse of Victim’s Services, and those conversations have continued. “We were presented with a partnership with the Drumheller Housing Authority, from those discussions things started to happen and we’ve been able to move forward with a short-term interim emergency unit that we’re looking at getting in place,” she said.
The Rotary Club of Drumheller, along with Captain Ben Lippers from The Salvation Army, and April Harrison of Drumheller Valley Family and Community Support Services presented BCAVA with a cheque in the amount of $9,042; these funds will be used to help furnish the unit with new furnishing and bedding, as well as providing grocery cards.
“This is one of the reasons the Rotary exists, to help people in need, and we immediately jumped on it and made the application to the district, and they gave us a good portion of the funding,” Jim Fisher with the Rotary Club of Drumheller said.
He noted COVID-19 has impacted many of the club’s fundraising projects, putting them into a “bit of limbo,” but the Rotary Club is looking at alternative, virtual means of continuing fundraising efforts to provide more local community support.
Captain Ben Lippers with the local Salvation Army noted since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic the Salvation Army has seen increases for help with domestic violence support as well as support for the homeless in town.
“We’ve got a bandaid right now, and we’re playing with the bandaid,” Captain Lippers told the Mail. “We try to help wherever we can, wherever possible.”
He is hopeful the interim shelter will help provide more consistent and cohesive data which they can then provide to the appropriate government bodies for additional support in the future.