Ishtar Transitional Housing Society says its safe houses are full this Christmas and they are having to turn away moms and their children fleeing violence. Web image

Ishtar Transitional Housing Society says its safe houses are full this Christmas and they are having to turn away moms and their children fleeing violence. Web image

Langley safe houses over capacity for Christmas

Ishtar Society having to turn away families fleeing violence

Twenty children, ranging in age from newborn to 16, and their mothers will spend Christmas in one of two Langley safe houses.

They are among those lucky enough to have found a bed through Ishtar Transition Housing Society.

According to Ishtar Society executive director Laurie Parsons, the houses are over capacity and for the past 12 months they have consistently had to turn away an average of three families a day looking for safe refuge.

“We provide support for women who are living in cars or tents because there is no space in our houses or those [safe houses] in neighbouring communities,” said Parsons.

“One of our houses is one of very few in B.C. that allows for pets and many women will not leave home if they are concerned that their pet will be abused.”

The housing crisis and lack of affordable rent paired with inadequate income assistance has had a ‘tragic impact’ on the availability of space in transition houses and women and children trying to flee violence, she added.

“We are finding that those women and children who are staying in our houses are having to stay longer than in the past because it is so difficult to find housing.

“Many women give up on finding housing and return home to men who use violence. Some end up couch-surfing, some living in their cars.”

Ishtar Society is working with BC Housing to find a longer-term solution to these problems. Ishtar hopes to partner with BC Housing to build affordable housing for women, including single moms.

In the recent Metro Vancouver homeless count conducted in March, there were more women found to be homeless than any other demographic.

Many of those women are fleeing domestic violence.

Violence Against WomenGetting Worse

As far as violence against women goes, on average, every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.

“The need for our services, our own statistics and the Canadian statistics reveal that there has been no reduction in violence but it has become much more difficult to leave a violent male partner for many women in Langley and elsewhere in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley,” said Parsons.

How Can You Help?

Ishtar would be grateful for new toys for children, gifts and gift cards for youth and women. They are also grateful for non-perishable food and hygiene items and monetary donations which help them meet the gap between funding and expenses.

Ishtar Society has two transition houses as well as a community-based victims assistance program, children who witness abuse program (recently changed to the PEACE program) a women’s counselling program, an outreach program and an MCFD liaison program. Services for both women’s and children’s counselling have a wait list, though they prioritize women and children who are not safe.

Anyone who would like to help make this Christmas a bit brighter for these families can call 604-534-1011 or drop into their counselling/admin office which is open to the public and is located at #101 6350 – 203 St., Langley V2Y 1L9 (mailing address).

Just Posted

Langley Mustangs high jumper Aiden Grout, seen here in McLeod Athletic Park in Langley in 2019, has just qualified for several top international competitions, including the Olympic trials. (Photo courtesy Vid Wadhwani)
VIDEO: With one jump, Langley Mustangs high jumper Aiden Grout has qualified for three international competitions

Maple Ridge resident records new personal best at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley

A local letter writer would appreciate if cyclists would think more about safety while riding in the area of River Road in North Langley. (Black Press Media files)
LETTER: North Langley route popular with cyclists but letter writer urges caution

A road user has concerns about some of the cycling habits she’s seeing in the area of River Road

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole spoke to members of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce via a Zoom chat with chamber CEO Colleen Clark on Friday, June 11. (Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Conservative leader talks tourism, trade, SkyTrain with Langley Chamber

The virtual fireside chat included talk about childcare and the budget

Deeba Mostafaie-Mehr, Setare Maleki Rizi, and Olivia Chen Xu from R.E. Mountain Secondary are recipients of three prestigious scholarships. (Langley School District/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley STEM students shine as recipients of prestigious scholarships

Three students from R.E. Mountain Secondary recognized

The new Langley Memorial Hospital emergency room opened for its first patients on Tuesday, May 4. (Government of B.C./Special to the Langley Advance Times)
LETTER: Aldergrove woman underwhelmed with new hospital ER

New ER is nice but needs adequate staffing, local woman writes

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read