A Charlottetown shelter for homeless women and women with substance abuse problems run by the Native Council of P.E.I. announced today it had closed its doors.

The shelter, Grandmother's House, opened in Charlottetown in 2003.

Jamie Thomas, president and chief of the Native Council said hundreds of aboriginal and non-aboriginal woman have stayed at the house over the years.

"Some who battled addiction, some who were incarcerated, some who were new to P.E.I.," Thomas said.

She said after years of struggling to find funding, the council couldn't keep the facility open any longer.

"We were constantly in a deficit situation year by year so it was not a decision we wanted to make," Thomas said.

 "It pulled on a lot of heartstrings, but at the end of the day we had to do it."

It cost about $80,000 per year to run the shelter.

The council did receive government money to set up the house and run programs, but Thomas said budgets are tighter these days.

She said she's not sure what it will mean for women once the house is closed.

"I don't really know, I don't really know. I think it's a matter of, you know, how do we set them up with the supports that they need so they can move into affordable housing?" Thomas said.

"How do we deal with some of their issues while not being able to provide them with that roof over their head?"

Chrissy Church credits Grandmother's House for helping turn her life around.

Church first stayed at the shelter five years ago. She'd been in and out of detox for drug addiction and had nowhere else to turn.

"I'm coming up to 15 months over now and without Grandmother's House, you know, I'd probably still be using."

Church is now in the methadone program, is taking her G.E.D. exams and is a peer educator. She says the safe, supportive atmosphere at the house helped her to make a better life for herself.

Church has her own place now but worries about other women.

"I think it's going to be pretty difficult without that there and it's going to be a lot of people out on the street," Church said.

She hopes someone will open a women's shelter and feels so strongly about opening another shelter that she said she would volunteer there.