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Ishtar seeks Langley Township help to secure more housing

Society that shelters women, children fleeing domestic violence needs more space
Maureen Berlin took over the executive director position at Ishtar Women’s Resource Society in April 2021. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times) Maureen Berlin spoke to the Langley Township council about the need for new second-stage housing on Monday, June 27. (Langley Advance Times files)

A Langley society that shelters women and children fleeing domestic violence is asking Langley Township for help in securing “second stage” housing.

Ishtar Women’s Resource Society has been providing emergency shelter since it was founded 49 years ago, noted Maureen Berlin, the group’s executive director, when she spoke at the Township council meeting on Monday, June 27.

There are two shelters in the Langley area, one with 10 beds, one with 12.

That’s meant to house women and children for about 30 days, but that can stretch out as there’s a lack of available places for the women to go next. The high price of rent and housing and the shortage of available units has made it difficult lately.

“But today we still don’t have second stage housing, which is what we’re trying to get, and what we’re fighting for,” said Berlin.

Second-stage housing would be apartments or townhouses where women and children could live for up to 18 months with support from counsellors and other Ishtar staff.

It was noted at the meeting that the poverty rate among women fleeing domestic violence is five times the national average.

Township councillors were supportive of pushing senior levels of government, including the BC Housing agency, and Minister of Housing David Eby, to move forward with some kind of plan for local second-stage housing.

A staffer from Ishtar noted that the society has had to turn away hundreds of women and children because they didn’t have the space for them in their transitional housing.

Langley is the only community of its size in the region that doesn’t have second-stage housing, Berlin said.

READ ALSO: ‘It’s time to say it’s our turn’ – new director at Langley’s Ishtar Housing Society

READ ALSO: Reports of domestic, intimate partner violence continue to rise during the pandemic

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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