Women’s Habitat unveils its year-long multi-million dollar renovation

News Apr 28, 2015 by Cynthia Reason Etobicoke Guardian

Women and children seeking shelter in their darkest days can now find welcoming refuge within bright and sunny walls, as Women’s Habitat unveiled the results of its transformational, $3.52-million renovation and rejuvenation project at a special open house event last week.

After being closed for a year to be completely gutted and rebuilt, the once drab-and-dreary, 25-bed women’s shelter, which is located in a converted duplex at an undisclosed location in south Etobicoke, was revealed to donors in its new-and-improved state last Thursday afternoon.

“For those of you who have been on a tour, you will have seen that this shelter now offers bright, comfortable, peaceful new bedrooms – and twice as many washrooms. Our gorgeous new kitchen is now three times the size and really is the heart of this house now. And there’s also a bright new children’s playroom...” said Deborah Templer, president of the Women’s Habitat board of directors, during her address to open house attendees.

“In fact, the biggest change here has been the space for children – now we can offer safe, secure backyard space where there was no yard before, a bright area for children’s programming, and a quiet space for homework.”

In total, the newly renovated Women’s Habitat now features 10 bedrooms (one of which is fully accessible), as well as a brand new elevator, all-new furniture shelter-wide (some of which was designed specifically for Women’s Habitat by Sheraton College furniture design students), new laundry facilities on the second floor, a new soon-to-be-completed women’s lounge and library in the basement, bright new counselling rooms, and the addition of five new bathrooms – bringing the total to eight from just three a year ago.

First opened in 1978, the aging Women’s Habitat shelter had long been in need of repairs – including mold remediation, electrical and plumbing upgrades, and general wear and tear repairs – in order to continue meeting the needs of the dozens of women and children victims of domestic violence who seek refuge under its roof each and every year.

To those ends, Women’s Habitat launched a capital campaign two years ago to raise the $1.8-million required to completely gut and rebuild the shelter – a fundraising goal that was far surpassed, thanks to the generosity of donors such as the Tawse Family Charitable Foundation, and John and Deborah Harris, said Silvia Samsa, Women’s Habitat’s executive director.

“By being here today and by supporting Women’s Habitat and this renovation, you’re lending your voice to a sea of voices that is growing stronger every day, every year. Women’s Habitat is not just a shelter, we’re part of a bigger movement working to end violence and you are part of that movement,” Samsa said in her remarks to donors.

“I want to thank you for lending your voice and taking up this call to action, because we could not have done it without you.”

In total, $3.52 million was raised during the two-year capital campaign, with the extra funds going towards all new furnishings and to ensure the sustainability of the shelter on a long-term basis, said Sojie Tate, Women’s Habitat’s communications and human resources manager.

In closing the shelter a year ago, Tate added, it was important that the families living there – many of whom had called Women’s Habitat their home for upwards of a year – be phased out, rather than just transferred en masse to other shelters.

“We did it so strategically – we waited until the last woman had found housing before we shut down,” she said, noting that Women’s Habitat is now set to officially re-open its doors to abused women and children on June 1.

“We’re trying to make it as comfortable as possible for those long-term stays, because right now women are staying with us anywhere from six months to a year.”

When Women’s Habitat re-opens its doors in a little more than a month, Shelter Program Manager Julia Fiddes said she’s sure the families seeking refuge within the shelter’s now-colourful walls will be grateful to all the donors who made the space such a warm and inviting one.

“I want everyone to know that the women and children moving in will thank you, even though they don’t know you yet,” she said. “Trust me, they will.”

Women’s Habitat unveils its year-long multi-million dollar renovation

Shelter’s campaign goal surpassed; upgrades include expanded kitchen, children’s play area, new bathrooms

News Apr 28, 2015 by Cynthia Reason Etobicoke Guardian

Women and children seeking shelter in their darkest days can now find welcoming refuge within bright and sunny walls, as Women’s Habitat unveiled the results of its transformational, $3.52-million renovation and rejuvenation project at a special open house event last week.

After being closed for a year to be completely gutted and rebuilt, the once drab-and-dreary, 25-bed women’s shelter, which is located in a converted duplex at an undisclosed location in south Etobicoke, was revealed to donors in its new-and-improved state last Thursday afternoon.

“For those of you who have been on a tour, you will have seen that this shelter now offers bright, comfortable, peaceful new bedrooms – and twice as many washrooms. Our gorgeous new kitchen is now three times the size and really is the heart of this house now. And there’s also a bright new children’s playroom...” said Deborah Templer, president of the Women’s Habitat board of directors, during her address to open house attendees.

“In fact, the biggest change here has been the space for children – now we can offer safe, secure backyard space where there was no yard before, a bright area for children’s programming, and a quiet space for homework.”

In total, the newly renovated Women’s Habitat now features 10 bedrooms (one of which is fully accessible), as well as a brand new elevator, all-new furniture shelter-wide (some of which was designed specifically for Women’s Habitat by Sheraton College furniture design students), new laundry facilities on the second floor, a new soon-to-be-completed women’s lounge and library in the basement, bright new counselling rooms, and the addition of five new bathrooms – bringing the total to eight from just three a year ago.

First opened in 1978, the aging Women’s Habitat shelter had long been in need of repairs – including mold remediation, electrical and plumbing upgrades, and general wear and tear repairs – in order to continue meeting the needs of the dozens of women and children victims of domestic violence who seek refuge under its roof each and every year.

To those ends, Women’s Habitat launched a capital campaign two years ago to raise the $1.8-million required to completely gut and rebuild the shelter – a fundraising goal that was far surpassed, thanks to the generosity of donors such as the Tawse Family Charitable Foundation, and John and Deborah Harris, said Silvia Samsa, Women’s Habitat’s executive director.

“By being here today and by supporting Women’s Habitat and this renovation, you’re lending your voice to a sea of voices that is growing stronger every day, every year. Women’s Habitat is not just a shelter, we’re part of a bigger movement working to end violence and you are part of that movement,” Samsa said in her remarks to donors.

“I want to thank you for lending your voice and taking up this call to action, because we could not have done it without you.”

In total, $3.52 million was raised during the two-year capital campaign, with the extra funds going towards all new furnishings and to ensure the sustainability of the shelter on a long-term basis, said Sojie Tate, Women’s Habitat’s communications and human resources manager.

In closing the shelter a year ago, Tate added, it was important that the families living there – many of whom had called Women’s Habitat their home for upwards of a year – be phased out, rather than just transferred en masse to other shelters.

“We did it so strategically – we waited until the last woman had found housing before we shut down,” she said, noting that Women’s Habitat is now set to officially re-open its doors to abused women and children on June 1.

“We’re trying to make it as comfortable as possible for those long-term stays, because right now women are staying with us anywhere from six months to a year.”

When Women’s Habitat re-opens its doors in a little more than a month, Shelter Program Manager Julia Fiddes said she’s sure the families seeking refuge within the shelter’s now-colourful walls will be grateful to all the donors who made the space such a warm and inviting one.

“I want everyone to know that the women and children moving in will thank you, even though they don’t know you yet,” she said. “Trust me, they will.”

Women’s Habitat unveils its year-long multi-million dollar renovation

Shelter’s campaign goal surpassed; upgrades include expanded kitchen, children’s play area, new bathrooms

News Apr 28, 2015 by Cynthia Reason Etobicoke Guardian

Women and children seeking shelter in their darkest days can now find welcoming refuge within bright and sunny walls, as Women’s Habitat unveiled the results of its transformational, $3.52-million renovation and rejuvenation project at a special open house event last week.

After being closed for a year to be completely gutted and rebuilt, the once drab-and-dreary, 25-bed women’s shelter, which is located in a converted duplex at an undisclosed location in south Etobicoke, was revealed to donors in its new-and-improved state last Thursday afternoon.

“For those of you who have been on a tour, you will have seen that this shelter now offers bright, comfortable, peaceful new bedrooms – and twice as many washrooms. Our gorgeous new kitchen is now three times the size and really is the heart of this house now. And there’s also a bright new children’s playroom...” said Deborah Templer, president of the Women’s Habitat board of directors, during her address to open house attendees.

“In fact, the biggest change here has been the space for children – now we can offer safe, secure backyard space where there was no yard before, a bright area for children’s programming, and a quiet space for homework.”

In total, the newly renovated Women’s Habitat now features 10 bedrooms (one of which is fully accessible), as well as a brand new elevator, all-new furniture shelter-wide (some of which was designed specifically for Women’s Habitat by Sheraton College furniture design students), new laundry facilities on the second floor, a new soon-to-be-completed women’s lounge and library in the basement, bright new counselling rooms, and the addition of five new bathrooms – bringing the total to eight from just three a year ago.

First opened in 1978, the aging Women’s Habitat shelter had long been in need of repairs – including mold remediation, electrical and plumbing upgrades, and general wear and tear repairs – in order to continue meeting the needs of the dozens of women and children victims of domestic violence who seek refuge under its roof each and every year.

To those ends, Women’s Habitat launched a capital campaign two years ago to raise the $1.8-million required to completely gut and rebuild the shelter – a fundraising goal that was far surpassed, thanks to the generosity of donors such as the Tawse Family Charitable Foundation, and John and Deborah Harris, said Silvia Samsa, Women’s Habitat’s executive director.

“By being here today and by supporting Women’s Habitat and this renovation, you’re lending your voice to a sea of voices that is growing stronger every day, every year. Women’s Habitat is not just a shelter, we’re part of a bigger movement working to end violence and you are part of that movement,” Samsa said in her remarks to donors.

“I want to thank you for lending your voice and taking up this call to action, because we could not have done it without you.”

In total, $3.52 million was raised during the two-year capital campaign, with the extra funds going towards all new furnishings and to ensure the sustainability of the shelter on a long-term basis, said Sojie Tate, Women’s Habitat’s communications and human resources manager.

In closing the shelter a year ago, Tate added, it was important that the families living there – many of whom had called Women’s Habitat their home for upwards of a year – be phased out, rather than just transferred en masse to other shelters.

“We did it so strategically – we waited until the last woman had found housing before we shut down,” she said, noting that Women’s Habitat is now set to officially re-open its doors to abused women and children on June 1.

“We’re trying to make it as comfortable as possible for those long-term stays, because right now women are staying with us anywhere from six months to a year.”

When Women’s Habitat re-opens its doors in a little more than a month, Shelter Program Manager Julia Fiddes said she’s sure the families seeking refuge within the shelter’s now-colourful walls will be grateful to all the donors who made the space such a warm and inviting one.

“I want everyone to know that the women and children moving in will thank you, even though they don’t know you yet,” she said. “Trust me, they will.”