Shelterlink is a web based app that was developed to help women and children fleeing domestic violence to more easily access available shelter beds. Through the app, participating shelters report in real time on their bed availability. Shelter staff are able to see the bed spaces available in other shelters, so that women who are fleeing domestic violence do not need to make multiple calls when needing to access safe, emergency housing.
Currently, the ShelterLink app hosts thirteen women’s emergency, transitional, and second stage shelters (primarily located in Calgary and the surrounding area). This project is also aiming to better understand the nature of demand for domestic violence services, particularly shelter beds, in the community.
Further development will include platform enhancements to track usage trends and expanding access to emergency and non-emergency service providers. The ShelterLink project is also focusing on the development of a rapid access, collaborative, multi-disciplinary system-of-care approach to families fleeing domestic violence so their needs are better met and they experience more seamless service delivery. The overall aim of the project is to ensure that someone whose risk requires shelter is offered shelter, and those whose risk can be managed in the community are offered alternate and accessible community-based services.
The Family Healing Program
By FearIsNotLove and Tsuut’ina Stoney Corrections Society
Men and Women’s Family Healing Program
In respect to the unique experience of our indigenous population, we created this program with their cultural practices and history in mind. This program aligns with the Cochrane Provincial Courts mandate.
Family Healing is a 12-week program that takes a cultural approach to helping its participants take responsibility for their actions and acknowledge the harm they have caused. This program places a focus on the impacts of generational trauma and the effects of residential schools. The program offers resources and activities such as sweat lodge ceremonies, smudges, access to guidance from Elders, and more.
Family Healing brings an awareness to the damage domestic violence brings to both the individual and the family, and the community as a whole.
For more info: email@example.com
Cultural Helpers by Men&
In respect to the unique experience of our indigenous population, we created this program with their cultural practices and history in mind. In partnership with an Indigenous Advisory Council, with the goal of establishing restorative and Land Based programming to augment and offer alternatives to mainstream therapeutic support.
The Cultural Helpers program aims to help men understand their traditional role as provider for the family within modern times. Designed to augment or be an alternative to mainstream settings, this community-based approach focuses on how to rediscover a sense of community, and reclaim the roles of Father, Husband, Brother, Partner, and Son in a positive and healthy way.
For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Equally Safe is a partnership that has been in place since January 2020, between the Calgary Police Service, YW Calgary, Awo Taan, Kerby Centre, FearIsNotLove, and Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA). The primary purpose of the Equally Safe Coordinated Community Response is to provide focused interventions and community referrals, for victims and perpetrators, to increase safety and reduce the harm that results from domestic violence and abuse. Clients of the program are individuals and families who have had interactions with Calgary Police Service as a result of domestic violence and abuse. Through the Equally Safe partnership, members of the Equally Safe Team in each of the partnering agencies, along with CPS, provide supports and services through two programs: Early Intervention Outreach Program (EIOP) and the Domestic Conflict Response Team (DCRT).
In 2017, FearIsNotLove (at the time, Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter) engaged an expert in men’s issues, Dr. Jeff St. John, to make recommendations to the leadership team on how best to meet the needs of men who are looking for help with emotional wellness and relationship issues. Dr. St. John drew attention to the risk factors at play across men’s lives, and the need to focus on the areas that are important for men to have healthy, satisfying lives.
One of his main recommendations was for FearIsNotLove to develop a website which provides reliable and helpful information to men when they first start looking for resources online. He also recommended that this work be connected in with the community, and be a hopeful, positive online presence for men.
The Men& initiative collaborates with key community members and organizations aligned with our mission of supporting individuals, families and communities to live free from domestic violence and abuse.
Men& supports men looking for help to improve their own mental health and close relationships (across Alberta and Canada). The Men& website has four main tabs/areas of information and resources, which are “relationships”; “community”; “health”, and “masculinity”. Under each of these tabs is a series of articles and blog posts, with links to further information about the topic at hand and community resources. There are also tool kits, surveys, and videos of real men talking about their experiences of overcoming mental health or relationship struggles. There are plans in the near future to have podcasts and mini-courses on topics relevant to men.
Connected to the website, FearIsNotLove also launched the Men’s Line, the purpose of which is to provide information, resources and support to men on the phone (1-833-327-MENS or 1- 833-327-6367). The Men’s Line number is displayed in numerous places on the Men& website.
See how we support men in strengthening their lives.
Shelter 2.0 Discussion Paper
Women’s Shelters: Enhancing Impact to End Violence
Note: This publication was created under our original name, The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter continues to be a core and essential service we provide in Calgary and area.
In 2016, Shift partnered with the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, YWCA, Calgary and Turner Strategies to strategize on how to enhance the impact of women’s shelters to help end violence.
Together with our partners, we developed Shelter 2.0: Discussion Paper by undertaking a review of best and promising practices encompassing shelter services for women fleeing violence in Canada and internationally. It helped us collectively understand the opportunities for shelters within the broader violence prevention movement.
In addition, we consulted with experts in the field. Both organizations went through an extensive assessment and consultation process, and the core themes of the research were presented at Canada’s First National Shelter Conference for Women Fleeing Violence in Ottawa (June 2018) where evaluations were completed by close to 100 practitioners from across Canada.
The Shelter 2.0 discussion paper proposes a new paradigm for women’s shelter operations, focusing on shelter objectives, service models, policies and practices. The focus on practices and services at the shelter level proposes evolving the traditional crisis response by adding deliberate interventions that include supporting the broader goal of preventing and ending violence. Shelter 2.0 proposes a holistic definition of violence and the intentional development of a system planning approach to prevent and end violence.
The discussion paper aims to stimulate direction-setting conversations through which we can begin to develop a possible prototype for the re-visioned model that could be tested and refined. Further consideration and analysis is necessary to debate and refine the concepts presented. We recognize the experience and approach presented draws heavily on two women’s sheltering organizations in Calgary.
This infers limitations on scaling which puts parameters on the ideas presented. These ideas should be examined within local contexts and probed further through thoughtful implementation, continuous improvement and evaluation.
The authors believe status quo is not an option and encourage advocates, policymakers and practitioners to challenge, build and further refine Shelter 2.0.