More Quebec women in need of shelter services after difficult pandemic year
MONTREAL -- It's been a lonely and, in some cases dangerous, year for some women in Quebec. Anne's House, part of the Nazareth Community, is doing what it can to help women in need.
"I was so happy to find a shelter that accepted me because [if I hadn’t], I would be on the street right now," said Nathalie Marcil, who for more than two years has been living at Anne's House, a residence for 28 women who struggle with mental health, homelessness, or are facing homelessness.
The residence is located in Montreal’s Shaughnessy Village. Staff offer services and assistance geared to the needs of residents.
Struggling with PTSD from a childhood trauma, Marcil’s one of many women there who have come under harder times during the pandemic.
Before the pandemic, part of her recovery involved seeing friends and family on a regular basis -- something she hasn't been able to do for more than a year.
At Anne’s House, residents are encouraged socialize to overcome individual challenges.
"It's limited, they might not be more than five people but at least they're having interactions with others and having that laughter back,” said Jennifer Willard, project manager at Anne's House. “It's so contagious and warm. It really helps their day and mine."
Nathalie isn't the only one struggling with the effects of the pandemic. More women have been contacting the shelter this year looking for support, according to Willard.
"There was a lot more demand from people who are experiencing violence against women so domestic abuse and emotional abuse from friends or loved ones," she said.
In Quebec, seven women were killed this year alone. This week, Deputy Premier Genevieve Guilbault announced 180 million dollars to prevent violence against women.
But, the executive director of the Nazareth Community says even more could be done.
"A combination of social housing and a living wage for women, who make 16 per cent less than men do anyway, would, I think, really help the situation," said Sheila Woodhouse, Nazareth Community Executive Director.
Until then, the shelter does what it can to help people in situations like Marcil’s.
"I feel like a grown up a little bit more, I gained more confidence," Marcil told CTV News.
Anne's House is in the middle of a fundraising campain, called Power of Womxn, with a goal of $75,000.