Charlottetown women's shelter will open as pilot project

A women's shelter will open soon in Charlottetown for a four-month pilot project.

Last homeless shelter for women closed in 2012

The temporary location is a bright home with lots of common areas and five bedrooms. (Laura Meader/CBC)

A women's shelter will open soon in Charlottetown for a four-month pilot project.

The community organization Blooming House has been working to raise money to open a shelter since last spring. On Monday it announced $60,000 in funding from the provincial government, and the donation of a house by a local church.

"This is unbelievable for us," said Blooming House co-founder Brynn Devine.

"It's becoming a reality very, very quickly."

Blooming House plans to open before the end of the month.

Devine and co-founder Liz Corney showed off the location to media and government officials, saying they are thrilled with the temporary location.

'We're really, really excited,' says Liz Corney. (Laura Meader/CBC)

"This is a home," said Corney.

"It's beautiful. It's nice and clean."

Government support

Family and Human Services Minister Tina Mundy said the government funding, which will cover staff, is a quick response to a need while longer-term solutions are worked on.

"Government is proud to be part of it," said Mundy.

Charlottetown has been without a homeless shelter for women since the spring of 2012.

Grandmother's House was an eight-bed facility operated by the Native Council of P.E.I. The council reported it was full most nights, but said it couldn't find the $80,000 a year it needed to operate the house.

Since then the only option has been Anderson House, a shelter for women fleeing violence at home, which sets aside a couple of beds for homeless women.

Brynn Devine says when they got to walk through the location last week they were elated with what they saw. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Corney said the shelter will provide a place for women to get out of the cold at night. It will be open from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., with two staff people on-site during open hours.

Corney said the group decided to do a pilot project as a good way to get things going quickly.

"It's getting really, really cold and it's unacceptable for women to be sleeping outside while we figure out how to start a permanent shelter," Corney said.

Volunteers will be gathering furniture donations and setting up the rooms in the coming days. (Laura Meader/CBC )

Media were given a tour of the building, but were asked to not reveal the address yet.

The house has five bedrooms, and will have eight overnight beds. Children will not be allowed.

"This location is just a dream for us, so we're very, very excited," said Corney.

Advocates say homeless women are at risk by not having anywhere to go. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

The group has set up a Facebook page seeking furniture and other donations to help set up the shelter.

Blooming House hopes to gather information from the pilot project and figure out what the need is, and make a long-term plan for something more permanent once it has that data.

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With files from Laura Meader