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Francophone women's shelter in Timmins struggling with influx

A Timmins women's shelter is dealing with some issues with capacity and how much its services are needed.

Organizers of Ellevive on Second Avenue are now looking for creative solutions.

Since rebranding to the new name during the height of the pandemic, the francophone shelter’s executive director, Chantal Mailloux, said COVID-19 fears left many of the facility's beds empty until last year.

But now, the shelter is struggling to accommodate an influx of vulnerable female clients.

"We do get calls every day," Mailloux said.

"We do have two shelters, here in Timmins. We used to have three in the area, we had Matheson at one point a few years ago, it closed down … so, that’s had an impact."

The area has 25 beds to accommodate women fleeing domestic violence and sexual assault, but Ellevive can only offer 10.

The beds are typically meant for short-term stays of up to eight weeks, but lately,  Mailloux said many clients have been staying longer due to the cost of housing.

"The women that come through […] don’t have the means to be able to pay for an apartment at the rates that they’re at, especially if you have kids," she said.

"So, we can’t accommodate as many women that need to come through."

And that means leaning on shelters in other parts of the north and having to relocate women out of the community, until space becomes available.

With the current level of provincial funding, Mailloux said the shelter often needs to raise money for supplies and offers financial support to clients.

"Sometimes it’s first or last month’s rent, sometimes it’s groceries. Sometimes it’s hygiene products or sometimes it’s, you know, kids need to go back to school and they don’t have the shoes or the backpacks or whatever, stuff like that. Then, we can help with that," she said.

A recent fundraiser for the organization held at the local bowling alley didn’t see as many donations as the shelter was hoping for, but Mailloux said the goal is to raise awareness about the organization.

Ellevive and Timmins & Area Women in Crisis are now prepping for their annual Take Back the Night march later next month. Top Stories

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