In 2018, the Lloydminster Interval Home Society had to turn away 1,819 women and children due to a lack of space.
On Tuesday, November 5, they announced a new campaign, Bridging the Gap, to better accommodate the need for the emergency shelter. Angela Rooks-Trotzuk, CEO of the Lloydminster Interval Society, says the society has been working toward a new shelter for some time as the current shelter is nearing its end of life.
“Bridging the Gap, we’re very excited to talk about and finally get to launch. We’ll be adding 12 more beds to our existing emergency shelter to increase from 21 to 33, and what that really means is we’re able to make an immediate impact on the number of people we are turning away.”
Rooks-Trotzuk explains within Alberta, Lloydminster is the second city that has the highest ratio of turn away rate. Throughout the year, the shelter is at capacity 94 per cent of the time.
“We have, actually, we call it a turn away to admission ratio, for the amount of people we turn away, we can admit X number. Our ratio shows 5 to 1, so for every five people we turn away, we’re able to admit one and those numbers rival Calgary.”
Synergy Credit Union partnered with the society and they donated $50,000. The goal for the project is $415,000 and currently 35 per cent is raised. Rooks-Trotzuk believes being supported by a strong community will leave an impact.
“The Brick campaign is that individuals will be able to purchase a brick for $100 or any amount that they see fit, there is an opportunity on the sheet to indicate how much you want to (donate), how many bricks you want to buy.”
This is a direct mail campaign to help Bridge the Gap for an interim solution for the shelter. Rooks-Trozuk says they will start the process within the next two weeks, and is expecting the beds to be available in the new year.
The Lloydminster Interval Home Society has been tracking their numbers since 2012, within the last five years, they have turned away more children and women in need then in the past.
Rooks-Trozuk explains when there is more stress within a family, abuse increases; someone that is predisposed to poor coping skills, is more likely to become abusive.
“We had to take a step back and say, how much longer can we continue to turn away five to six people a day in our community, knowing that their lives are at risk. The cycle of violence is that it escalates.”
Numbers in Alberta are leveling off, however, in Lloydminster they are continuing to increase. The society saw a higher number of distress calls during Christmas, recently they have noticed there is not as many peak times, it’s busy year round.
Anyone can make donations to Bridging the Gap on their website.