Shelter Voices 2016
Annual survey of a day in the life of Canadian women’s shelters shows increasing complexity of need.

April 28/ Ottawa –

The Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters and Transition Houses today released their third annual Shelter Voices survey report on the state of shelters for women fleeing abuse across Canada. Shelters from every province and territory have contributed to provide a snapshot of a day in the life of a women’s shelter.

The four-page survey summary report shows that on one day, 234 shelters in Canada welcomed 111 new women and children as residents. However on the same day shelters were forced to turn away 305 women and children seeking shelter due to lack of resources – 73% of the 416 total shelter seekers that day. Shelter Voices also covers the frequency of shelters receiving women and their children who have crossed provincial and territorial boundaries to flee violence, the increasing complexity of women’s needs in shelters, barriers to accessing housing after shelter, and visions and testimonies from shelter workers and shelter residents.

Shelter Voices is launching online across Canada in English and French via email, Facebook and Twitter on Thursday, April 28nd using the tags #sheltervoices and #maisonxpriment. Our stakeholders are invited to amplify the launch messages by sharing a version of our launch tweet:

“#ShelterVoices 2016 report on women’s #VAW shelters in #Canada released today. #VAW #RTpls”

Shelters and allies are encouraged to use Shelter Voices to help start conversations in their own communities on the importance of shelters and the need for further support.

“Shelter workers have had to become increasingly resourceful to keep up with the increasing numbers and needs of the women and children they serve.” says Lise Martin, Executive Director of the CNWSTH. “In fact, 76% of shelters have relied on food donations in the last six months to meet their needs.”

Despite the increasing challenges, Shelter Voices testimonies reflect the impact that shelters have on the lives of women and children fleeing abuse. “I remember riding that bus with my little boy with nowhere to go and no one to turn to,” says one woman via Shelter Voices. “”Thank you for being there for me. I will never forget this.”


The Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters & Transition Houses is a coalition of 13 provincial and territorial shelter networks representing shelters for women fleeing violence across Canada. It works as a unified voice to collaborate, educate, and innovate for systemic change that ends violence against women, making Canada a model for safety in the world.

For more information or media interviews:
Lise Martin / Executive Director
(613) 680-5119 /
CNWSTH online: @endvawnetwork

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