Ottawa’s oldest women’s shelter is celebrating its 40th anniversary

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(press release)

JUNE 21, 2016 (OTTAWA): Interval House of Ottawa (IHO), the city’s oldest shelter for women and their dependents fleeing violence, is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a barbecue for current and former residents, staff, Board members and volunteers on June 28th. Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Diane Deans and MP David McGuinty will also attend. MPP Hon Yasir Naqvi will send a certificate to commemorate the occasion.

IHO has had more than 3200 women and 4000 children live at the shelter since it first opened its doors in 1976 with a four-bedroom house. IHO supports another 2000 women on its crisis line annually. Now with a new location and 30 beds, IHO is the only shelter in Ottawa that is not fully funded by the province. The Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) provides funds for 20 people at a time and IHO relies on fundraising to support the additional 10 or more women and their dependents.

“Interval House helped me and my children when we had nowhere else to go,” said former resident Charlene. “They really helped me get on my feet again, so I could give my kids a safe home.”

“We are celebrating 40 years of helping women in our community when they are in crisis,” said Executive Director Kia Rainbow. “Usually they have to leave in such a hurry, they show up on our doorstep with their kids and not much else, maybe a few clothes stuffed into garbage bags. At Interval House we provide women and their dependents with crisis intervention and counselling support, advocacy, and referrals to community services including affordable housing, financial and legal aid, employment and immigration.”

One in three women will experience violence in their lifetime. Intimate partner violence has been consistently identified as one of the most common forms of violence against women in Canada.

The 40th anniversary celebration barbecue will also feature a bouncy castle for the children of current and former residents.

About the shelter:

Interval House of Ottawa is committed to ending the cycle of violence and to empowering women and children who are victims of violence. We provide emergency shelter for women and their children fleeing violence, and offer crisis intervention and prevention services, advocacy for victims, and education about violence for both victims of violence and the community at large. Let’s all work together to end violence against women and their dependents.


OttawaStart Staff

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