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New Calgary crisis shelter offers space for women, children and pets fleeing domestic violence


YW Calgary says its new crisis shelter doubles its capacity to help victims of domestic violence.

The organization celebrated the shelter's grand opening on Wednesday.

The new building offers 80 spaces for women, children and – for the first time in the organization's history –  pets.

"What a special day for what we are going to do for this community, and for the women and children and their pets," said Sharon Carry, board chair of YW Calgary.

The previous crisis shelter operated by the YW Calgary had a 40-person capacity.

"For over 40 years the former shelter, known as YW Sheriff King Home, provided safety and security for thousands of women and children fleeing domestic violence. That aging facility had not only reached the end of its functional life but was also lacking the flexibility required to address the changing needs, experiences, and diversity of the Calgary community," officials said in a news release.

Instead of renovating the old shelter, YW Calgary opted move forward with a $50 million expansion plan to build at a new site in Inglewood.

"Tearing it down and starting over and doubling the capacity was the right thing to do," said Carry.

The YW now operates three buildings at its new location to serve select purposes: the new crisis shelter is the first intake shortly after leaving an abusive situation, the Hub has space for 100 singles, and the Taylor Family Home is an affordable housing space with 19 women and 70 children residents since the building opened in May.

Families will move into the crisis shelter next week. Officials expect it will already be at capacity.

"It will be a building that will meet them where they're at, which is a moment of crisis and often the darkest days of their lives. And so it will change their lives, because there's a team here to help them," said Sue Tomney, CEO of YW Calgary.

Tomney says the new shelter incorporates "trauma-informed design" with natural light, accessible halls, kitchen amenities and outdoor play spaces.

"Space matters, and particularly space that is inviting, where they can have private time, community time and they can have outdoor time," said Tomney.

The latest building project received funding from various sources including $11 million from the federal government and $2.2 million from the province's Arts, Culture and Status of Women ministry.

The YW of Calgary is still looking to raise the remaining $2.8 million from the community to cover the cost of the latest crisis shelter project.

Organizers say the need for multiple levels of support for domestic violence continues to grow as the city's population increases, "which is why this building is also so important" added Tomney. Top Stories

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