Who We Are + Our Mission:
The Heart Home Network serves people at risk of family violence by providing a safe housing environment and comprehensive support services for its residents, so that they can transition to living stable lives free of abuse in the community. We provide essential services such as safe housing, first necessity items, counseling, and educational/recreational programs.
All financial support received will be used to carry out our mission: to support people at risk who have experienced family violence to live safely and successfully in our community. Currently, our Top 3 Priority Areas are Mental Health, Programming, and Childcare Relief Staff.
“The Network is all about discovering what’s already in you; it’s there for you to learn about yourself, from yourself.” – Former HHN Resident
Secure Housing: Second-Stage Shelter (34 units) and Progressive Housing (51 units). Primarily two-bedroom units for mothers and their children. Home Décor volunteers ensure that upon moving in, each family feels welcome.
Food Program: Food Pantry with staple foods, fresh refrigerated food, spices, and non-perishable items from the Calgary Food Bank are stored. The Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Centre located nearby provides free fresh produce weekly.
Adult Services: Counsellors help clients settle into the building, provide emotional support, and assist with finances, education, and employment. Parenting Group and Women’s Support Group is a judgement-free place for women to learn more about themselves and how to care for their children. Workshops are available for resume building, interview preparation, and legal matters. Our Brighter Futures program helps foster workplace and life skills development.
Child Services: Child and Youth Counsellors offer play and art therapy for kids ages 4+ as well as mental health referrals. Outcomes targeted in counselling range from mental health to social skills, confidence, and education.
Our Resilient Hearts Centre is the home of our childcare program, through which children ages 0-12 receive free childcare throughout the week. We organize engaging day trips and vacation programming. Healthy snacks, a quiet sleeping room, and diapering area are readily available.
In addition, we run volunteer-supported homework help and tutoring, Walk2School, and school snack programs for elementary school students.
Housing Locator and Landlord Coordinator: After the Second Stage period has ended, clients decide whether to move into Progressive Housing or find alternative housing in the community. Our Housing Locator helps clients decide what is best for them and their families, based on their monthly finances. Our Landlord Coordinator is here to help clients with day-to-day matters, necessary repairs, signing leases, move in and move out inspections, and ensuring timely payment of rent.
What you can do to support
We believe that the path to a healthy, violence-free society starts with people getting involved.
Thank you for helping us work towards a community free from family violence.
Current Areas of Need – 2023
The Brenda Strafford Foundation is passionate about providing programs and services that fulfill our guiding philosophy of The Preservation of Dignity and The Pursuit of Happiness. Currently, we are looking for community support to continue these initiatives:
Child and Youth Recreation
Children are best able to grow physically, socially, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually in a stimulating, encouraging, and challenging environment. The Resilient Hearts Centre provides trauma-informed supervised care for children 0 to 12, free of cost. Our curriculum focuses on developmental and social-emotional milestones. We also offer a Walk2School program and “Little Learner” snack bags for all school-aged children.
Youth aged 8-18 in our building can participate in a weekly Homework Club, fun drop-in activities including game and movie nights, and field trips to explore our beautiful city. The highlight of each month is a trip: laser tag, swimming, and bowling are fan favorites!
Counseling and Case Management
Counsellors and Case Managers address needs, set goals, and develop programming to help our clients build resiliency. Depending on need, residents typically attend at least 1 appointment per week. If a client has a need or is facing a barrier, the team will work creatively to find resources and support to meet that need or to remove the barrier.
Recently, the demand for counseling services at our shelter has increased. We are looking to expand our counseling service to provide more frequent counseling sessions for clients with immediate needs, achieve improved youth engagement, and sustain our current programming in collaboration with our community partners.
“The staff and management meet the resident families where they are – honor and listen to their struggles. They provide resources and support(s) thereby, inspiring residents to make changes, grow and confidently start rebuilding their lives to become future thrivers.” – HHN Client
The Rainbow Room
The Rainbow Room is our Family Counseling room, designed to provide a safe space for mothers and children to work through mental health and attachment challenges in an age-appropriate way. Our counselors support children using play, music, and art. Specific needs and goals are identified by mothers and the children themselves.
We are always looking to keep the Rainbow Room well stocked with therapeutic aids, staffed with specialized Family Counsellors, and available to every mom and child in need.
One of our most-used services at the shelter is the Fresh Food Pantry, which was recently renovated. The pantry contains a variety of fresh and non-perishable foods provided by the Calgary Food Bank and other partners. We are planning to improve the sustainability of this initiative by having a dedicated staff member to carry out workshops on food composting, storage, and disposal; purchasing compost bins for each unit; and making food distribution more equitable for families in need.
The sustainable and low-waste framework extends to all donations we receive, including clothing, toys, and household items.