Shelter Movers is a beacon of hope in the face of a disturbing surge in gender-based violence across Alberta. With unwavering dedication, Shelter Movers extends a lifeline to families fleeing abuse in the Calgary and Edmonton areas. This pioneering organization, unmatched in its scope and impact in Canada, collaborates closely with shelters to address the critical challenge of moving and storing survivors’ essential belongings, a process often stymied by financial constraints. Unfortunately, the demand for their services continues to rise. Startling statistics underscore the urgency of their mission: in 2021, a woman or girl was tragically lost every other day in Canada, primarily at the hands of an intimate partner or family member. Disturbingly, Alberta consistently maintained a higher rate of violence against women and girls compared to the national average from 2018 to 2022.
Gender-based violence casts a long shadow across Alberta, affecting individuals of all gender identities and encompassing various forms of abuse. Those grappling with this violence often find themselves trapped in hazardous living situations, necessitating escape and relocation to ensure safety. It is particularly alarming that approximately one in two women will face physical or sexualized violence, and a staggering 74% of Albertans personally know a woman who has endured sexual assault. The stark reality is that the Calgary Police Service responds to around 20,000 domestic violence calls annually, yet approximately 80% of such incidents go unreported. Alberta holds the unenviable distinction of having the third-highest rate of domestic violence in the nation.
“The most typical person to experience elder abuse is described to be female of an average age of 72, who lives with the abuser (spouse, partner, or caregiver). Only 1 in 4 instances of abuse are reported in Canada. 4 in 10 (34%) senior victims of police-reported family violence indicate the accused was their grown child.” Source: Can. Resource Centre for Victims of Violence (May 2022)
At its core, Shelter Movers is an extraordinary force that directly meets the needs of survivors of gender-based violence head-on. The organization’s distinctive approach, providing moving and storage services to individuals and families escaping abuse, resonates with profound impact. Shelter Movers emerges as a pillar of empowerment and support for survivors, accomplishing the following with the generous support of funding partners:
Physical and Emotional Support: Funding enables Shelter Movers to furnish survivors with both practical assistance, through safe and efficient moving services, and emotional support, as compassionate volunteers stand by survivors during the pivotal moving process.
Safety and Dignity: The organization’s discreet and secure moving services, backed by funding, guarantee survivors the freedom to relocate without fear of being tracked or harmed by their abusers.
Financial Relief: Survivor’s journeys to safety are rendered less daunting by the funding-backed provision of free moving and storage services, alleviating financial strains and allowing resources to be allocated elsewhere.
Empowerment and Independence: By facilitating survivors’ escape from perilous situations, Shelter Movers bestows them with the power to reclaim control over their lives, fostering confidence and self-determination.
Volunteer Engagement, Training, and Education: Funding advances volunteer training in trauma-informed practices, crisis intervention, and gender-based violence dynamics, ensuring survivors are aided by empathetic and well-informed volunteers. As a volunteer powered organization, also helping to reduce the costs to provide these critical services.
Collaboration and Community Building: Shelter Movers’ extensive network spans women’s shelters, police services, storage and moving services, language interpreters, pet fostering, senior services, immigrant and refugee services, LGBTQ+, Indigenous, and beyond, weaving a safety net that envelops survivors, fostering collaboration, community, and healing.
“I was lost and alone. Having my things gave me comfort at a time when I needed it most. I am forever grateful for the people at Shelter Movers who helped me put my back together.” – Harshita, Survivor
Shelter Movers receives no core funding from the government. We are largely dependent on the generosity of individuals and businesses to fund our various operations, including volunteer training, vehicle and storage rentals and translation services. We offer our supporters the unique opportunity to align with our mission and vision. Shelter Movers works together with our partners to serve clients, by providing the only service of this kind in Canada. In addition to financial gifts, corporate partners provide valuable in-kind resources needed to help families in crisis.
“Many people say it’s just stuff and I should be happy to get out alive, but knowing I don’t have to start all over again is a huge financial burden lifted from me. And knowing that I have my items that I could never replace like baby photos, and my grandmother’s jewelry means so much to me. I can’t thank Shelter Movers enough for giving me back this piece of my life I thought was gone for good” – MJ, Survivor