Neighbours unhappy with proposed women’s shelter in Cambridge
Haven House is out of space.
The Cambridge women’s shelter has 30 beds, and they’re often all full. Women are sharing bedrooms and washrooms.
As a result, Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region – which operates the shelter – has been looking for a new home.
They’ve found a parcel of land they’re happy with, on Acorn Way at Bowie Drive, near Elgin Street.
But the land currently belongs to the Waterloo Catholic District School Board as part of the Christ the King Catholic Elementary School Grounds – and that doesn’t sit well with parents, some of whom don’t want their kids anywhere near a women’s shelter.
“This is the wrong location for it,” says Tanya Costello, who has a child at the school.
“I’m afraid that it could attract drug users and violent people into the environment with small, young children.”
More than 100 people have signed a petition against the shelter. It’s attracted more than 100 signatures.
Mary Zilney, CEO of Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region, says she doesn’t understand the concerns.
“Why do you think there’d be drug use?” she says.
“This is a woman’s home away from home. She’s the victim. She’s being abused.”
Zilney says abusers are unlikely to show up at Haven House because security cameras are in place.
Women’s Crisis Services plans to hold a public meeting with neighbours in early April to take questions and address concerns.
“I believe that the residents don’t understand what we do,” says Zilney.
“We want the community to embrace it.”
Women’s Crisis Services must raise $8.4 million before it can start construction on the new facility.