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Shelter wait time for Calgary domestic violence victims surpasses 3 months


There's significant demand for Calgary's Discovery House emergency shelter for mothers and children fleeing domestic violence, with some survivors waiting 112 days for access to support.

Discovery House Family Prevention Society says wait times are typically 68 days long in the summer, and the current wait time is nearly double that.

The waitlist has increased by 27 per cent compared to the same time period last year.

The executive director believes this could be a delayed result of the pandemic, as more victims stayed in shared spaces with abusive partners longer and have prolonged trauma to heal from.

"People are staying longer in our shelter and then having trouble moving on because we're having trouble finding them housing in the community they can afford, and so the people who need to come into the space, its taking us longer," said Leslie Hill from Discovery House.

She adds the current housing crisis with the lack of available and affordable housing and other rising costs are also contributing to the growing waitlist.

One client of Discovery House said their wait was over five weeks to access shelter support.

"It was very tense knowing I would be somewhere safe but I didn't know when or how long that would take," said "Lina" whose identity CTV News has agreed to protect for their safety.

Lina says it can be dangerous for others who want to stay at the long-term shelter.

"The extra time between being able to get in can make a lot of difference for people from what they experience in that time, because things can escalate quickly."

Many of those who are seeking shelter are especially vulnerable, with 52 per cent of those who arrived at the shelter in 2021 stating they were at severe or extreme risk of homicide.

As well, Statistics Canada has reported an increase in police-reported incidents of intimate partner violence for the fifth consecutive year.

With the increase in demand, Discovery House is asking for donations during its month-long campaign to "help provide better access to long-term housing supports, counselling, financial aids, and more by participating in the "Discovery House Gift of Hope campaign."

Hill also says increased rental and affordable living spaces would also go a long way to help alleviate the pressure. Top Stories

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