Yellow Brick Home abuse shelters renovate for COVID-19 basic safety

Kim J. Clark

‘… this undertaking has moved Yellow Brick House’s necessary emergency housing and counselling house into readiness for later on levels of the pandemic and post-pandemic,’ govt director says

Soon after a 6-thirty day period renovation to make it COVID-safe and sound, Yellow Brick House will welcome women of all ages and people back to its Markham unexpected emergency shelter in September.

Funding for the modifications had been produced probable by a $150,000 Resilient Neighborhood Fund grant — an Ontario Trillium Basis grant that allows non-profit businesses get well from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Offered the pandemic, we could not proceed the companies the exact same way, so we experienced to drastically transform what we do,” claimed Lorris Herenda, government director of Yellow Brick House.

“We have been thriving in holding with that amount (of safety) due to the fact the beginning of the pandemic and we want to ensure that we keep on getting risk-free.”

Through the pandemic, women of all ages and families ended up relocated to alternative housing until eventually funding to modify the shelters was secured.

When the shelter was created, it was intended as communal residing, in which ladies shared rooms with other females.

Each and every of its 5 bedrooms housed 16 beds and a few cribs.

The shelter’s format has been redesigned with family members zones so that family members are segregated from each individual other and just about every loved ones has its very own bedrooms and living place. The zones can accommodate smaller sized or greater people and single occupants.

In addition to the new format, the kitchen has been renovated and a prepare dinner has been employed to serve meals to purchasers. An acrylic plastic partition divides the cook dinner from the household receiving the meals in the kitchen and when staff conducts one particular-on-a single counselling, an acrylic plastic partition is between them and their shoppers.

Other changes include things like the addition of wall-mounted hand sanitizers, signage, split-out lounge space lodging and general improved air flow.

“We’re really thrilled about this thought mainly because now have been in a position to move people from the substitute housing back into the shelter and still retain most people protected and COVID-no cost,” she said.

Renovations have presently started on the organization’s Aurora emergency shelter facility and completion is set for late tumble or early winter season.

“As we navigate a new disrupted reality that involves bodily distancing, this project has moved Yellow Brick House’s important unexpected emergency housing and counselling room into readiness for afterwards levels of the pandemic and publish-pandemic,” Herenda stated in a assertion.  

Many organizations noted an boost in domestic violence throughout the pandemic. The Assaulted Women’s Helpline (AWHL) — a 24-hour disaster hotline for women of all ages throughout the province experiencing abuse — obtained  93,444 calls from 2020-2021 when compared to 50,648 from 2019-2020, mentioned Yvonne Harding, manager of useful resource enhancement.

Herenda claimed that although domestic violence fees “increased significantly through the pandemic,” a large amount of women of all ages weren’t able to safely and securely reach out for support for the reason that lockdowns pressured them to be isolated at home with their abusers.

There has now been an increase in the selection of crisis phone calls, she mentioned, and she anticipates that with the reopening of the province, extra gals will have the possibility to get assist.

Herenda said that many perpetrators utilized the pandemic as leverage to retain gals from in search of enable by telling them that they or their youngsters will get ill if they depart.

A nationwide study of shelters and changeover properties that serve girls and kids influenced by violence done in 2020 by Women’s Shelters Canada located that from March to May perhaps 2020 when several elements of Canada were in lockdown, 59 for every cent of respondents mentioned phone calls reduced, while from June to Oct 2020 when protection steps began to ease, 61 for each cent documented that phone calls improved.

Since 1978, Yellow Brick Property has furnished expert services to gals and children escaping domestic violence and abuse.

Previous year, it assisted extra than 2,000 ladies and family members through its two unexpected emergency shelters, 24-hour disaster assistance hotline, group counselling to family members who are not at the shelters and family court, transitional housing and group assist companies.

Yellow Brick Dwelling emergency shelter beds can accommodate up to 400 ladies and small children but Herenda mentioned it is not adequate to accommodate the “hundreds and hundreds” who need to have them.

“We certainly do not have plenty of shelter beds in York Location it’s been a battle for us even pre-pandemic.”

Of the 51 beds and cribs that the shelter has, only 50 percent are funded by the provincial authorities.

Herenda stated she’s been advocating to secure sustainable funding and a lot more shelter beds from the province for 9 yrs.

“There’s a dire want for more funding and we’re hoping we’re going to be read ultimately,” she mentioned.

“We have been blessed with the York Location group who are very generous and our donors are incredibly supportive of us and that’s enabled us to keep our doors open.”

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