Women’s shelter impacts lives over history

Sucker Creek Women’s Emergency Shelter board, left-right, are Sucker Creek Councillor Sandy Willier, vice-chair Edna Willier, chair Joyce Badger, staff liaison Fred Badger, and treasurer Denise Willier.

By Joyce Badger, chair of the board,
Sucker Creek Women’s Emergency Shelter
(Board chair Joyce Badger presented the history of the shelter in her speech.)

It is a great pleasure to see you all here as we celebrate 25 years of the Sucker Creek Women’s Emergency Shelter.

In 1992, the chief and council and band manager Fred F. Willier had a vision of a service that would be open to any women in need of safety, regardless of status, race or place of origin.

At this time, I would like to acknowledge current chief and council, and Fred F. Willier, the person who made it all possible.

The Sucker Creek Women’s Emergency Shelter is a 21-bed facility which provides short-term 21-day safe and supportive accommodation for women and their children.

Our facility is located on the Sucker Creek First Nation.

A board of directors appointed by the chief and council governs the administration of the shelter programs and services.

The volunteer board is very active in the operations of the shelter.

Their personal commitment and dedication is exemplary.

The shelter operates as an independent organization with its own in-house administration.

We provide these services for abused women and their children, women in crisis or other women needing emergency accommodation and to provide these women with information about available alternatives which will assist them to make informed decisions about their future.

Our job is to provide services with compassion, understanding, honesty and truth.

The help we offer is available around the clock, provided by a skilled, trained and understanding staff.

There are presently 12 crisis intervention workers, including administration staff; offering full-time and casual employment, with day-to-day operations being the responsibility of our director.

Services we offer are extended to all women who meet the entrance criteria, regardless of place of residence, age, race, creed, socio-economic status, mental or physical disability or sexual orientation.

The criteria that must be met by individuals accessing our in-house program are abused women with children, abused women without children, women in crisis, and other women meeting the shelter mandate.

The shelter has a home-like atmosphere rather than an institutional type of accommodation.

Clients have expressed that they feel very comfortable and relaxed in our Shelter.

We promote a place where women could come for counselling, protection, companionship and help and a place that provides the basic needs, shelter, clothing and food.

Next Step Housing:

We have four apartment-style units in our “Next Step Housing”, two are three-bedroom units and two are two-bedroom units.

One of these units is designed for physically-challenged individuals.

Next Step Housing provides longer-term accommodations up to one year.

Women must have completed the 21-day program at the shelter prior to their admittance to the Next Step Housing.

The Next Step tenants are encouraged to seek counselling (and other support) to deal with the long-term effects of domestic violence.

They are also invited to in-house to participate in the scheduled programming sessions.

We have very good relationships and networking with agencies such as the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CMHC, Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters, Lakeshore Regional Police Service, social services, victim services, other women’s shelters, Region 15 of Alberta Child and Family Services, and many others.

At this time, we would like to thank Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada who have made our shelter possible through funding and support over the past 25 years.

We also thank the chief and council for their assistance and continued support in our endeavors.

We have sincere gratitude for everyone who has been involved or currently involved in the advancement and ongoing development of our shelter.

On a final note, I would like to mention that we accept donations, whether it be clothing, household items and such for the women in the shelter, who usually come with nothing.

I also want to add that: every child that comes into the shelter is given a teddy bear.

This little gesture has proven to do wonders for these little ones, giving them may be a sense of security.

We continue to advocate for the rights of women and children.

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