Wheatland Crisis Society is in the first stages of creating second stage housing in the Strathmore region. This is in order to help people fleeing domestic violence move from a shelter environment into a new life of independence and freedom.

Carol Manson McLeod, Interim Chief Executive Officer for Wheatland Crisis Society explains that they have been serving this community for over 30 years. “We are purely a shelter that takes clients for up to three weeks when they are experiencing domestic violence.” The shelter excepts both men and women.

The issue that arises is, where do the clients go once their three weeks is at an end?

“Second stage is just that. It's an apartment setting rather than communal living,” she said explaining there is increased security compared to a regular apartment.

“It also has wrap-around services in terms of counseling support, parenting support, helping people learn how to budget in order to help them get on their feet to move on to their life,” she said.

With second stage housing, clients usually stay for up to a year before moving on to the next step in their lives.

Currently, there is a lack of low-income and subsidized housing in the Strathmore region.

“We have no second stage. We have no spots for our clients to go who have been with us for three weeks, we have no place for the growth, so right now clients if they want to go into a second stage where they have that increased security and increased support, the only place they can go is Calgary. We've had clients go to Edmonton. We've had clients go to Red Deer,” said Manson McLeod.

The Crisis Society wants to keep people near their families and their support systems.

Right now the Wheatland Crisis Society is in the very early stages of development for second-stage housing. Manson McLeod says, “This has been a vision of the shelter for many years.”

The society has the chance in the near future to apply for grant funding through the CMHC, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

“We are clearly, in the very beginning stages of this of locating land and conceptual design and that kind of thing. I can tell you the board and the staff are committed and excited to get us to that point,” she said.

She touched on the issue of trauma for clients who are fleeing domestic violence who may need to leave their families and whatever support systems they have behind for a bigger city like Calgary or Edmonton as there are no local placements. “We really do need this next step for Strathmore, so we're excited to be able to start working towards it," she said.