Women picket after being told to switch shelters
Published Friday, September 8, 2017 6:29PM EDT
A group of women picketed outside a Kitchener shelter on Friday, holding signs and calling attention to their being told to leave the shelter.
Eight women were informed Thursday night that they were being moved from the Mary’s Place shelter to The Bridges in Cambridge.
“We don’t like going there,” one woman told CTV News. Several of the women said they would try to live “in the bush” instead.
“All my resources are here. Everything I need is in Kitchener,” said another woman.
In addition to their new location, the women were upset that they had been given less than 12 hours’ notice about the move.
Mary’s Place is operated by the YWCA Kitchener-Waterloo. Its CEO, Elizabeth Clarke, says the women were asked to move because of three families that were staying in motels in lieu of shelter space.
“We have a protocol in the region to put people into motels when the shelters are full,” she says.
“We also have a protocol to, as soon as possible, move them out of the motels.”
After the families were placed in the motels, Clarke says, shelter space opened up at The Bridges. Because the YWCA has 21 family units, and no other shelter in the region has similar accommodations for families, the decision was made to move some women from the YWCA to The Bridges.
Clarke says one of the women agreed to go to The Bridges, while another decided to stay with relatives. Two other women were allowed to stay at the YWCA due to medical issues.
As of Friday evening, the destinations of the four remaining women had not been finalized.
Clarke says she understands why some of the women would be concerned about being moved to another city, and such arrangements are often temporary.
As for the timing of the women being informed, Clarke says the YWCA always tries to tell shelter clients about changes in their situations as soon as possible.
“Sometimes we only know a few hours ahead of time,” she says.