New home soon for Saint John's Coverdale Emergency Women's Shelter
Shelter moved twice during COVID-19
Even before the COVID pandemic, the need to help provide women with a safe location to stay was growing, says Crystal Scott, the director of the Coverdale Emergency Women's Shelter in Saint John.
But with an anticipated move into a new location on Waterloo Street, Scott and the shelter's program facilitator, Chanelle Morgan, are hoping the new space will work.
"We are at capacity regularly," said Scott of the present 15 bed shelter.
This will be the third move for the women's shelter since March because of COVID-19 restrictions and social-distancing protocols. The shelter moved from its location on Culloden Court to the Bayside Middle School in March and then to a building on Somerset Street.
It's new location will be beside the Coverdale Centre for Women, and Morgan said it will be close and central to all the other community resources the women need.
"It's bringing us back into our community, which is going to be fantastic."
The organization is now waiting for rezoning so it can make the move into the new house, which will have an additional bedroom, more bathrooms and a room where people can self-isolate if required.
Morgan said the move will not happen until spring 2021 after the rezoning process and renovations are complete.
In the meantime, the shelter will remain on Somerset Street.
Scott said all the moves have been difficult, and some of the women who access the services are no strangers to having their lives uprooted. Prior to COVID, the homeless situation in the city was increasing and Coverdale could not meet the requirements of those in need at its former location.
"We have women coming in with significant health issues and we have women coming in that have an education and are just stuck."
But then with COVID, it seemed there were more women who needed their help when relationships began to break down during the lock down.
"We were seeing more women come in that weren't dealing with domestic situations but relationship breakdowns in general due to the stress of losing jobs and being at home."
Scott said they were seeing women come into the emergency shelter that had never been through any type of shelter services before.
"We're at capacity most days."
At the present location, they have no access to the kitchen facilities to prepare meals for and with the women, something Scott said is inconvenient for everyone..
"We're not able to do that at Somerset Street "
While a supper meal is brought in and breakfast can be prepared there, Scott says the house welcomes donated meals or snacks prepared by individuals or organizations.
"We're going into the colder season, so we'll definitely need supplies to help us get through the winter."
With files from Information Morning Saint John