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

Critter Care annual open house set for July 21 and 22

Guided tours offered during South Langley wildlife facililty fundraiser

VIDEO: Langley school trustees approve pay hikes

Proposal to adjust compensation every year based on inflation index rejected

Man confessed to ‘Mr. Big’ that he killed his half-sister by suffocating her

Details heard in court about murder of Rachel Pernosky, 18, of Mission

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Langley MP pledges support for stranded adopting families

Mark Warawa said he will pressure the minister of immigration on the issue.

B.C. BMX kid wows GoPro with homemade video

Eight-year-old Rex Johnson wins award for inventive video

‘Creep off’ reporting system aims to track street harassment in Metro Vancouver

Text-based hotline launches to collect public reports on where and when harassment occurs

10 feet from home: B.C. grassfire offers stark reminder how quickly blazes burn

Kamloops woman among first people in B.C. to be told to evacuate home this wildfire season

Happy ending for orphaned bear cubs

Two orphaned bear cubs were captured in Castlegar and sent for rehabilitation.

Platform chosen for online B.C. cannabis sales

Ottawa-based company to create websites for when marijuana becomes legal in Canada on Oct. 17

Maple Ridge tent city resident who attacked strangers gets day in jail

Chad Edwards ordered to complete counselling for mental health and abuse of meth

UPDATE: Police say story of pretend cops ‘arresting’ woman in CRA scam fake

Vancouver police urge people not take calls from anyone saying they’re from the Canada Revenue Agency

Almost 2,400 young athletes set to compete at BC Summer Games

Full list of participants was released Friday for the Cowichan Valley event

Family raises money for B.C. man burned in campfire mishap

Harold Duncan-Williams suffered first, second and third degree burns when his shirt caught on fire

Most Read