Wheatland Crisis Society (WCS) is providing Strathmore and Wheatland County with services not offered at other surrounding facilities. At the Wheatland County Council meeting, Carly Cole and the team from the WCS presented 2017/2018 update.
Cole, Public Educator with the WCS, says "In 2017 157 adults and 124 children were turned away because we didn't have enough space for them. It's a big number I also feel that this number needs some explanation. I can tell you that we didn't have the space to take them, but what we did do was we made sure they had a safe space to go. Our crisis workers will often ask someone if we can call on their behalf and advocate at other shelters for them. I want to make it very clear we will never turn someone away until they have a safe place to go."
The WCS offers housing to all in need, with a strong focus on families. Cole says, "Unlike other shelters, we do not have an age limit on children if a parent came to us with two teenage children they would not be turned away." Cole also says, "Our shelter is one of very few in the country that take men, it is a very underserved population, unfortunately, a lot of men fleeing abuse are forced to use homeless shelters which is not the place for someone that is escaping abuse."
The staff at the WCS offers many programs and support services to anyone in need. They have an outreach program which helps individuals residing in the community who have experienced abuse or crisis. They also have public education programs that increase awareness and reduce tolerance of violence and abuse in the community.
The team works with a second stage housing project to get families and residents into secure housing. Families are supported with ongoing councilling, childcare, life skills and employment skills to improve the chance of long-term success.
As Strathmore currently does not have a second stage housing facility WCS is looking at making that a reality for our community.