PEI

P.E.I. home for abused women needs upgrade

A refuge for abused women and their children in Charlottetown is being stretched to capacity and needs a major facelift, says its manager.
The bathrooms need updating and repairs from water damage. ((CBC))

A refuge for abused women and their children in Charlottetown is being stretched to capacity and needs a major facelift, says its manager.

Anderson House, the provincial emergency shelter, has seen more women in the past 12 months than in the past five years. In 2009, the house took in 85 women, up 25 per cent from the previous year.

"That hits on our food bill, and hits on our heating budget and all the utilities and things like that go up," Ellen Ridgeway, manager of Anderson House, said Tuesday. "So, you know, we're pressed at times to be able to meet all those needs."

The increasing number of clients has also meant more wear and tear on the 105-year-old house.

The ceilings and walls have extensive water damage from winters past, Ridgeway said, and bathrooms need to be upgraded.

"The whole house needs a complete overhaul. Every room needs to be repainted."

The renovations are expected to cost more than $350,000. The P.E.I. government has put in $150,000, and a major fundraiser is planned for the spring to make up the rest of the cost.

One woman came to house two weeks ago to get away from a partner who abused her mentally.   "I just couldn't take anymore — I just left. Like, I had 15 minutes. He walked out the door, and I grabbed the kids' clothes and I came here," she said.

Now, with the help of Anderson House staff, she has been set up in her own place.

"I think that's one of the only worries here — where do I go from here? They have programs and they set me up with everything I need  — between legal, finances and daycare," she said.

Phil Matusiewicz, of PEI Family Violence Prevention Services Inc., said sprucing up the home will lift the spirits of the women who find shelter there.

"It's going to be a place that is bright and offers them some hope in terms of what they can plan for their future," he said.

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